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Expert: This was Biden’s mistake

– Overall, this looked pretty good. He is “very Biden” as we know him, and there will be more of this. He has temperament, and he becomes defensive when he is pressured. We saw a glimpse of that today, says US expert and Civita adviser Eirik Løkke to Dagbladet.

Joe Biden held Norwegian time on Thursday afternoon its first press conference as President of the United Statest. A very ambitious vaccine plan was among the topics on the agenda.

But viewers and reporters also got to see Biden’s temperament. There were several quick to point out, among them CNNWhite House correspondent Kevin Liptak.

Løkke agrees, and thinks this is typical of Biden – especially when he gets tough questions.

– “Is this a serious question?” he asks, for example, when he does not like a question. This is something Biden has done very often. Some people say that the older you get, the stronger your personality will emerge. What we see now is Biden in “pure edition”.

– Extremely impressive

However, the age does not hold the 78-year-old back, Løkke believes. He thinks Biden mostly handled the questions from the press well.

It also helps that the president was able to present good news about the vaccine rollout in the United States.

Since it began in December, 130 million vaccine doses have been given. 46 million Americans have received two doses and are fully vaccinated. This corresponds to 14 percent of the population.

Biden announced that the goal is now 200 million vaccine doses by 30 April, which the USA is well on track for. The target is twice as high as originally announced. In part, Biden can thank Trump for the success, Løkke believes.

– It is actually extremely impressive. It is much better than what we achieve in Europe. That was also one of the things Trump did not did very poorly: the work of accelerating vaccine development.

– The big difference

Løkke believes that Trump’s “style and form” may have contributed to both vaccine skepticism and skepticism of science in general. But when it comes to the technical and commercial aspects of vaccine development, the Trump administration laid a solid foundation, he believes.

– The bid’s holistic approach is much better. But in many ways he still has what Trump did when it comes to the “technical side”, for lack of a better word, of the vaccine program. Biden also has a much better handling when it comes to face masks, hygiene rules, all this Trump had so many crazy, almost insane statements about constantly away, says Løkke, and adds:

– We do not have to do that now, and that is the big difference.

– Think Biden will apologize

However, Biden stumbled in one place, Løkke believes.

During the press conference, the president said that the United States sends most migrant families from Mexico back across the border.

Several media, including CNN, has reported that this is not true. In February, a total of the majority of individuals who crossed the border were illegally sent back – but not the majority of people who came with a “family unit”, according to CNN’s fact-checkers.

Løkke believes Biden will correct or apologize for this statement.

– There are so many of the central media who have pointed out that this was a lie, and here it was quite obvious that he was taken to bed and did not have complete control. I would expect him to apologize, simply because he is not Trump.

Biden has little to lose by apologizing, Løkke believes.

– It’s not a big mistake, so I do not think it costs him much. To bet in the long run on telling the truth to the American people, and being a “straight shooter”, I think means more Biden.

– Error

That Biden is not Trump, he did not let us forget either. During the press conference, he came with several stabs to his predecessor.

– If unaccompanied children show up at the border, should we just let them starve to death? No other administration has done that before, with the exception of Trumps, Biden said, among other things.

He should have kept himself too good for that, Løkke thinks.

– He was very good in the election campaign not to get carried away, and let Trump be Trump.

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The president should continue with that, he believes.

– Ideally, Biden should not have done it, precisely because he should try to create “unity” and bring the country together. There is nothing that falls into very good soil with the still quite supporters Trump has. I would say that it is a mistake. It’s unnecessary.

He also sees no political gain from such ladle kicks.

– I understand that it can be tempting, but an aspiring statesman should refrain.

– Expected

The 78-year-old also revealed that he is brooding on a plan for re-election in 2024. This is the first time Biden confirms this.

– How surprising is it, and how do you assess the probability of it happening?

– I consider the probability to be small, and it is very expected that he says so. Had he not said so, he would have ruined his entire political agenda. All speculation had been about 2024 already now. He has to say it: it’s a bit like a football coach who has confidence until he does not have it.

True or not, Løkke thinks Biden will insist that he plans re-election for several years.

– I guess that about a year before 2024 he will say that he does not ask.

– Reality star

US expert Hilmar Mjelde, a researcher at the Norwegian Research Center (Norce), also believes that Biden did well.

– He is somewhat marked by age, but very comfortable at work – calm and confident and knows things. Because he has 50 years of experience. It shows the value of having the necessary political experience for the job, which his two immediate predecessors lacked. Especially Trump.

No other president can be compared to Trump, Mjelde believes.

– Trump is the only president who did not allow himself to be influenced by the seriousness of the presidential job. Trump behaved like the reality star he was. The historical parallels to Biden are Lyndon B. Johnson and George HW Bush, who were also two very competent presidents.

– Was taken to bed

In two months, Biden has succeeded in calming the political mood in the USA, Mjelde believes.

– It is of great importance that the United States now has a president who is not deliberately provocative every busy day, Mjelde writes, and adds:

– I also noticed that he talked about the democratic weathering in the world, and how important it is to protect liberal democracy. The media should focus more on this, because it could mean the difference between war and peace in Europe in the future.

He still agrees with Løkka when it comes to the question of migrant families.

– However, the Biden administration has not handled the refugee crisis on the Mexican border in a particularly competent way. There he was taken to bed, and had no plan to deal with a situation he himself has created to a certain extent through his rhetoric about new immigration policy.

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