U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Tuesday night appeared to have won the hearts of many Americans during his first town hall event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Mr. Biden comforted an eight-year old girl, promised 600 million doses of vaccine by the end of July, called on Americans to reject racism and white supremacy, and pledged to get relief to people hurting from the economic devastation caused by COVID-19.
Speaking at a CNN town hall and taking questions from CNN’s Anderson Cooper and the American people, the president insisted that everyone, including asylum seekers be treated with respect and decency.
Sounding compassionate and caring, his conversation with an 8-year-old girl who stood with her mother may have been one of the most captivating moments of the night.
The president told her not to worry, not to worry about COVID-19, and to know that things will be normal again, as her mother pressed him on schools and COVID-19.
On the policy side, the president signaled that he was determined to passing his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, saying the cost of inaction would be more devastating. He said the money needed to be spent now to help the American people and save the economy from collapse.
On the school loan, the president repeated that he was in support of canceling $10,000 not, $50,000. He was responding to a woman who said she and her family were being crushed by the student loan.
The president was more forceful when he spoke about racism and white supremacists, saying “these guys are demented.”
He indicated that they should be treated as domestic terrorists, and called on the country to reject racism and embrace decency.
“We have to deal with systemic racism that exists throughout the country. We have a chance now, a chance now, to make significant change in racial disparity,” the president said, adding that “every kid wearing a hoodie is not a member of a gang.”
On former President Trump, Biden said he will not make himself the center of attention like Trump in the past four years, and referred to him at one point as the “former guy.”
“I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump, I don’t want to talk about him anymore,” the president said, adding, “For four years, all that has been in the news was about Trump. I want to make sure in the next four years, it will be the American people.”
On the coronavirus crisis, the president said by the end of July everyone should be able to get a vaccine, projecting that by Christmas, life should return to normal.