Joe Biden’s long arc in public life has always had one ultimate ambition: to sit behind the Oval Office’s Resolute desk.
He achieved it – albeit at the age of 78, as the oldest person to ever hold the presidency. After the unrest and chaos of his predecessor, Donald Trump, Biden was seen by voters as the man who could restore normalcy and a reassuring tone in the White House.
But Biden also found, as have all of his predecessors, that events outside his control will shape his time in office and the public’s evaluation of him.
Takeaways from The Associated Press’ White House team on Biden’s first year as president:
Biden began his presidency with big ideas worth more than $4 trillion – his eyes bigger than the belly of the Senate.
Coronavirus relief worth $1.9 trillion passed in March, considered a signature achievement in many first years in office.
But Biden kept asking for more: an additional $2.3 trillion for infrastructure and jobs, and another $1.8 trillion for families.
After some difficult negotiations, he passed a version of his infrastructure plan and asked more than a dozen Republicans in the Senate to vote as well.
But the attention span is short. Biden’s $1.8 trillion package, which he labeled “Build Back Better”, had elements that included a wish list of Democratic priorities for the past decade – a child care tax credit, climate legislation, paid family Leisure and Universal Prekindergarten, among other provisions.
So far, it doesn’t seem like the bill was big enough to be big enough to fail. Republicans left him on this and many Democrats were also skeptical. Then inflation rose, and the potential for planning diminished.
— by Josh Bokey
He Still Thinks Like a Senator
Biden has been a senator for nearly four decades, so it’s probably no surprise that he brings the mindset of a legislator to his presidency.
Known as a skilled negotiator from his time in the Senate, Biden still immerses himself in legislative negotiations and is aware of the subtleties of his proposals. He believes in the value of personal connection and talks face-to-face into the details of the conversation, often convening key senators or meeting lawmakers in the White House.
Biden emphasizes the need for bipartisanship, a value he held dear in the Senate. But it is one that, in today’s increasingly divided Washington, feels out of touch with the moment.
Biden also keeps a senator’s schedule: He is often late for events and prefers to be out of town on weekends, returning home to Delaware.
a big difference? Now he is riding Air Force One instead of Amtrak.
— by Alexandra Jaffe
High and falling short shooting
Biden inherited a long list of unfinished Democratic policy priorities when he took office, but despite his best efforts, most remained so.
Taking office after Trump’s attempts to overturn voters’ wishes, no issue seemed so urgent to Biden as the push for legislation on voting protections.
Biden’s attempt to break the deadlock on the law by pushing the Senate to change its rules to pass the bill by a simple majority was actually quashed by two moderate members of his own party before it even started.
It was emblematic of how Biden’s central argument for his presidency—his nearly four decades in Washington uniquely positioned to deliver him on a highly ambitious agenda—was increasingly out of line with today’s politics. Is.
Biden unsuccessfully bet that personal ties, private cajoling and public hand-twisting could fuel years of increasingly partisan divisions and ideological disagreements.
Lack of progress on voting rights, immigration, climate change, gun control and abortion protection remains a complete burden.
— by Zeke Miller
no Obama 2.0
Biden walked into office chanting “America is back,” his shorthand message to aides and opponents that the days of Trump’s inward-looking “America First” foreign policy were over.
But his approach to the world has also been notable for his determination to avoid some of the missteps of his old boss, Barack Obama.
Biden stood by his pledge to meet the August deadline to end the war in Afghanistan, even as military commanders and some political allies urged him to end a chaotic and bloody US military withdrawal. slow down As vice president, Biden opposed Obama’s move to add more US troops to the country. But the one Biden presided over was widely criticized for his haste and execution, including US military casualties.
Biden also came into office with more skepticism than Obama – and Trump and George W. Bush for that matter – about Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obama sought to “reset” US-Russia relations. By 2014, after a series of earlier disappointments, when Russia seized Crimea’s Black Sea peninsula from Ukraine, Obama’s hopes of a reset had evaporated.
Biden made it clear early on that his highest hope for Putin’s relationship was finding a measure of stability and predictability. With his administration pressuring Putin to back down from building Russia’s current military along the Ukraine border, it remains to be seen whether Biden’s approach will yield better results.
– Aamer Madani. By
For a man who’s wanted to get into the White House in the worst way possible for decades, Biden isn’t enamored of the place.
During his first year in office, he has spent a portion of at least 99 days in his home state of Delaware, mostly during weekend visits and amounting to more than a quarter of his presidency. It is a minor jaundice that requires a massive operation involving security teams, press pools, helicopters and buses.
As for the White House, Biden called his residence on Pennsylvania Avenue a “gilded cage in terms of being able to walk outside and work.”
“I said that when I was running, I wanted to be president, not just to be in the White House but to be able to make decisions about the future of the country,” he said in a CNN interview.
He said the Vice President’s residence in Northwest DC, which is on 80 acres, was very different.
“You can walk by a porch and jump in a pool in the summer, and, you know, go to work,” he said. “You can ride a bicycle around and never leave the property.”
— by Colleen Long
BEA. About this
Biden’s late son, Beau, sometimes seems to be as much a part of Biden’s presidency as Biden himself.
Biden acts to reference his son in speeches and other public comments, and sometimes wears a baseball cap bearing the logo of Beau’s Child Protection Foundation.
Beau was being groomed to follow his father into national politics – and perhaps become president one day. He was a Delaware attorney general who served in the state’s Army National Guard and advised his father politically.
Brain cancer took him away from his wife and two young children in 2015 at the age of 46. He is the second child Biden has buried; The president’s first wife and daughter died in a 1972 car wreck.
Biden said during his 2020 presidential campaign that Beau should have been the candidate.
On the eve of his swearing-in, a tearful Biden said his “one regret” was that Beau was not alive “because we should introduce him as president.”
– by Darlene Superville
Better to be a VP than to be a VP
Obama did not choose Biden because the two were personally close. They chose him because he added some foreign policy and experience, and could serve as a bridge to the Congress.
But over time, the two became closer personally. Obama tasked Biden with being the “sheriff” to oversee how the money in the 2009 stimulus bill was spent during the financial crisis. She also assigned him to help plan to end the war in Iraq.
When Biden was considering a run to succeed Obama in 2016, the president was calm to the idea and his vice president leaned in favor of Hillary Clinton.
Still, Obama’s respect for his vice president was on display toward the end of his term, when he presented Biden with the Medal of Freedom in an emotional ceremony.
Biden’s relationship with Vice President Kamala Harris hasn’t been nearly as smooth.
Her role in the job is historic: She is the first woman and the first Asian and black vice president. But she’s struggling to find her footing, and Biden hasn’t been much of a guide, though both publicly insist that their relationship is solid.
Biden has assigned Harris some of the administration’s toughest issues, including immigration and voting rights. And while Biden himself served as the top cop on stimulus legislation, he’s given the task of overseeing spending from his $1 trillion infrastructure legislation instead of his vice president, former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
— by Colleen Long
all the jars of the president
From infrastructure to the COVID-19 response, Biden has hired White House coordinators to marshal the federal government’s resources to implement his policies. In terms of combating climate change, Biden has worked in two places – Gina McCarthy to lead the domestic initiative and former Secretary of State John Kerry to lead it globally.
Biden knows a thing or two about the czars: He was one, when he led the implementation of the American Recovery Act for President Barack Obama. But it is telling that instead of relying on cabinet secretaries or their own vice president, they have chosen experienced and often politically connected managers like Gene Sperling, who leads the implementation of the COVID-19 relief bill, and Jeff The Giants, which drive the government’s response to the virus.
This reflects not only the technocratic streak of the Biden White House but also the centralization of power within the West Wing.
— by Zeke Miller