5 Points From Biden's G20 News Conference

US president gets personal when talking about the pope
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 1, 2021 2:31 AM CDT
Updated Nov 1, 2021 6:45 AM CDT
5 Points From Biden's G20 News Conference
President Biden speaks during a news conference at the conclusion of the G20 leaders summit, Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021, in Rome.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Biden wrapped up his time at the Group of 20 summit on Sunday trying to convince Americans and the wider world that he’s got things under control—and taking Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia to task for not doing enough to deal with the existential threat of climate change, the AP reports. Biden's overall take on his efforts: On climate change, he’s got $900 billion planned for renewable energy, and Congress will vote this coming week. On supply chains, he has plans to make the ports run better and tamp down inflation. For workers, he’s building an economy with pay raises. On diplomacy, world leaders trust him. But he also acknowledged at the Sunday press conference—the first one he's held solo since mid-June, per CNN—what he can’t yet achieve: bringing Russia, China and Saudi Arabia to the table with the broader international community to limit carbon emissions and move to renewable energy.

  • Relationships: Biden spelled out his belief that all politics is personal and that what progress was achieved at the Rome summit came from direct interactions with other leaders. “They know me. I know them,” Biden said of his fellow G20 leaders. “We get things done together.” He also dismissed fears his allies at the summit might not be ready to embrace his administration after Trump: "They listened. Everyone sought me out. They wanted to know what our views were, and we helped lead what happened here. ... The United States of America is the most critical part of this entire agenda."
  • Manchin and Sinema: For all the challenges confronting him, the president attempted to stay optimistic. As Biden departed the news conference, he offered a thumbs up when asked if West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema—key Democratic votes—were on board with his $1.75 trillion spending package for families, health care, and renewable energy. As for what that meant, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, said, “As the President said during the press conference, he is confident we are going to get this done and the thumbs up was simply a visual restatement of that.”
  • More optimism: The president also shrugged off his recent decline in the polls, saying that numbers go up and down, the same thing has happened to all other presidents, and "that's not why I ran."
  • Pope: The policy issues seemed to fade for Biden when asked about his time Friday with Pope Francis. The president became deeply emotional, his hands appearing to fiddle with the mask he wore as a precaution because of COVID-19. He spoke of how the pope comforted the Biden family in a Philadelphia airport hangar after the death of his son, Beau, in 2015. "He is everything I learned about Catholicism from the time I was a kid going from grade school to high school."
  • Supply chain: Earlier Sunday, the president signed an executive order that aims to help with supply chain shortages; he also announced increased funding to help the US and international partners with supply chain resilience and will hold a summit next year centered on the issue. "I urge all of you ... to consider bolstering your stockpiles critical to national security in your countries," he told G20 leaders.
(Read more Joe Biden stories.)

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