When President Joe Biden was running for election against the incumbent Donald Trump, some pundits framed it as a battle for the very soul of the nation. In Biden, many saw a compassionate and connected leader who would work to heal the country after years of partisan sniping and a lengthy COVID-19 lockdown. In Trump, some saw a firebrand, a self-motivated aggrandizer with authoritarian tendencies who threatened the very fundamentals of democracy.
In the end, Biden’s compassion won out, and he dealt a resounding blow to Trump’s claims that a “silent majority” backed him. It turned out, the former president’s supporters were neither a majority, nor were they all that quiet. Now, early in his presidency, Biden has showcased his compassion as well as his early plans for his presidency with a town hall meeting moderated by CNN.
At one point during the Tuesday town hall in Milwaukee, a second-grader named Layla Salas expressed her fears that she could get COVID. Biden comforted her, saying “Don’t be scared, honey. Don’t be scared,” his words a far cry from the bluster and bravado of his predecessor. Of that predecessor, Biden had little to say.
“For four years, all that’s been in the news is Trump. The next four years, I want to make sure all the news is the American people. I’m tired of talking about Trump,” Biden told those gathered at the town hall meeting. Instead, he wanted to talk about how the country will recover from COVID-19.
During the event, Biden spoke directly to the nation in his first major trip out of the White House since his inauguration. He gave a concrete promise about where he wants the country to be by the summer. By July, Biden says, there will be 600 million vaccine doses available. That number is critical because it would encompass nearly the entire population of the US. However, the president wasn’t able to give solid answers on every question.
Some questions, like how long the pandemic will go on or when everyone will be able to get a vaccine, have no solid answers at this time. Rather than guess at it like the previous administration, Biden’s team has been transparent about when there isn’t enough data to even make an educated guess. However, Biden promised, by Christmas of 2021, he expects the country to be in a “very different place” with regards to the virus.