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Biden avoids Trump ‘the old guy’ on Covid relief ground

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President Joe Biden tried to avoid dwelling on his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, as he presented a sales pitch to the public to get Congress to quickly pass his massive relief bill. coronavirus.

“I’m tired of talking about Donald Trump. I don’t want to talk about him anymore,” Biden said Tuesday night at a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“For four years all that made the news was Trump,” Biden said at another point. “For the next four years, I want to make sure the news is really about the American people.”

Biden’s visit to Badger State, his first official trip as president, came as House Democrats prepared to push the $ 1.9 trillion Covid relief package through to completion of the month of February.

The president, studded with questions from the small, socially distant crowd of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, has offered a cautiously optimistic timeline for when he thinks the United States can return to normalcy.

“A year from now I think there will be a lot fewer people who have to be socially distanced, wear a mask, but we don’t know,” Biden said, being careful not to “over-promise anything. either here “.

He also stressed the importance of reopening schools, a major political sticking point amid the pandemic.

Biden backtracked on remarks last week by press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the goal for the president’s first 100 days in office was to open the majority of schools from kindergarten to preschool. eighth grade at least one day a week.

“No, that’s not true. That’s what has been reported. It’s not true,” Biden told City Hall. “The goal will be five days a week.”

Biden, who has pushed Americans to get vaccinated, also said he believes teachers should be moved “up the ladder” for vaccination priority.

When Biden felt compelled to discuss the previous administration’s handling of the pandemic, he seemed reluctant to mention Trump by name.

“We inherited a circumstance,” Biden said, where “there weren’t a lot of vaccinators … [and] there were very few federal guidelines “to help Americans know how to get vaccinated.”

“Think about what we haven’t done” since the moment Covid hit US shores, Biden said. “We have wasted so much time.”

At one point, Biden called Trump the “old guy.”

“You asked the old guy to say, ‘Well, you know, we’re just going to open things up and that’s all we need to do.’ We said no, you have to face the disease before you start the economy, ”Biden said.

“The point is that now the economy has to be managed,” he said, stressing the need to increase unemployment insurance during the pandemic.

From his unity-focused inaugural address following his first week’s executive actions aimed at overturning the policies of the previous administration, Biden made clear his desire to push the country back from the Trump era.

But town hall came just three days after the conclusion of Trump’s unprecedented second impeachment trial. Trump was acquitted on an article of incitement to the deadly riot on Capitol Hill on Jan.6.

Biden, eager to rally Republican support for Covid relief efforts, hesitated when asked if he agreed with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, that Republicans who voted to acquit Trump were “cowards.”

“I’m not going to call names,” Biden said. “Look, I- for four years, all that’s been in the news has been Trump. For the next four years, I want to make sure the news is about the American people.”

“I’m tired of talking about Trump,” he added to applause from the socially distant audience.

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