The Self-Parody of Joe Biden’s Press Conference

There is absolutely no crisis at the southern border, and Trump caused it. Also Trump wanted small children to die at the border. I don’t. That’s just another reason people say I’m a good person.

Despite what you’ve heard, there is no surge of immigration. There’s just springtime, man. The fact that we need to open up military facilities to house this influx, well, that just shows what a fine job we are doing correcting Trump’s problems.

By the way, those immigrants aren’t streaming across our border because I’m a good guy and Trump is a bad guy, although that’s 100 percent true. They aren’t coming because of anything I said as a candidate, either, like telling the world I would suspend deportations for 100 days and stop construction of the border wall. No, it’s just springtime, plus bad conditions in Central America. C’mon, man, nobody can do anything about springtime. But we can do something about Central America. We can fix it. My suggestion is street lamps. Trump didn’t think of that. I did.

I am a man of the Senate and deeply respect that body. That’s why we have to change it in fundamental ways. Take the filibuster. It’s a relic of Jim Crow. If you support it, then you must be a vicious racist. Now, just because the filibuster is a malicious relic of America’s racist history doesn’t mean we should abolish it. No. We should just modify it. That way, we’ll dilute the racism a little bit.

I believe in comity and bipartisanship. That’s why I say that the Republican position on the voting-rights bill is the most racist thing since the Confederates fired on Fort Sumter. That was not a good thing, either. It led to a lot of testiness. Republicans don’t know that.

I believe in government transparency. That’s why we really want to let journalists see the border facilities . . . at some undetermined future date. I say, “There’s no rush.” Let’s wait ‘til we’ve fixed things up a bit. When will that be? It’s kinda hard to say, but I’m guessing sometime in the future.

As you can tell, I’m all in favor of transparency. I’ve always said so, especially before I was elected. As a Catholic myself, I can only endorse the sentiments of Saint Augustine, who once said, “Lord, please give the media full access, but not yet.”

Am I running in 2024? Well, I expect to. Does that mean I really will? I didn’t say that. I said I expect to, but, c’mon, man, nobody can predict the future. I don’t think anybody understood that better than the great Doris Day, “The future’s not ours to see. Que será, será. Whatever will be, will be.” That’s why I agree with Doris Day and not the Republicans.

I want to thank the press. Because of your docility, I could read at length from the written answers prepared by my aides. I avoided the obvious trap of thinking on-the-spot. That could have easily been a 50-car pileup—and I’m not wearing a seat belt! (Big smile.)

Let’s do this again in two or three months. Or here’s an even-better idea. Every six weeks or so, why don’t I just hand you my briefing book and avoid this charade?

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About Charles Lipson

Charles Lipson is the Peter B. Ritzma Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago, where he founded the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security. He can be reached at

Photo: (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)