‘They left because of what the Brits had been doing’: Biden raises Irish ancestry in first press conference

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Biden has confirmed that he intends to run for re-election in 2024.

US PRESIDENT JOE Biden has said that his great grandfather left Ireland “because of what the Brits had been doing” in his first full press conference as president.

“When my great grandfather got on a coffin ship in the Irish sea, the expectation was he going to live long enough to get to the United States of America,” Biden said.

“They left because of what the Brits had been doing,” he said.

“They were in real, real trouble. They didn’t want to leave but they had no choice.

“I can’t guarantee we’re going to solve everything, but I can guarantee we can make everything better.”

Biden faced a full press conference this evening for the first time since he took office in January which covered migration, Covid-19 vaccines, and his plans to run for a second term.

He raised his Irish ancestry in the context of the difficulties that migrants face moving to a new country.

He pushed back against criticism on how his administration has handled immigration from Republicans, who believe that his approach is too lax.

“There is a significant increase in the number of people coming to the border in the winter months of January, February, March. It happens every year,” Biden said in his first press conference since taking office.

“The reason they are coming is that it is the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way, because of the heat in the desert,” he said. 

He has designated Vice President Kamala Harris to work with countries where immigrants are originating from, including Guatemala and Honduras, on the causes of migration, such as natural disasters, hunger, and violence.

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Biden said there “is no easy answer” to migration but that he would not let children “starve to death and stay on the other side” of the border. “No previous administration did that either, except Trump. I’m not going to do it.” 

He confirmed that he intends to run for re-election in 2024.

“My plan is to run for reelection. That’s my expectation,” he said.

The White House has set a new goal to administer 200 million vaccine doses by the end of Biden’s first 100 days in office.

Biden was inaugurated on 20 January after beating opponent Donald Trump in the November election by 306 electoral votes to 232.

Additional reporting by AFP.

Joe Biden speaking in Dublin Castle during a visit to Ireland in 2016.

Joe Biden speaking in Dublin Castle during a visit to Ireland in 2016.

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