☷Remarks by President Biden at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner
White House ( By Press Release office)
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Washington HiltonWashington , D . C . ( April 30 , 2022 ) 10:07 P . M . EDT THE PRESIDENT: Thank you . Thank you , thank you , thank you . Thank you , Steve , for that introduction . And a special thanks to the 42 percent of you who actually applauded . ( Laughter . ) I’m really excited to be here tonight with the only group of Americans with a lower approval rating than I have . ( Laughter . ) That’s hard to say after what we just saw . ( Laughter . ) This is the first time a President attended this dinner in six years . ( Applause . ) It’s understandable . We had a horrible plague followed by two years of COVID . ( Laughter and applause . ) Just imagine if my predecessor came to this dinner this year . Now , that would really have been a real coup if that occurred . ( Laughter . ) A little tough , huh ( Laughter . ) But I’m honored to be here at such an event with so much history . As already referenced , the very first President to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner was Calvin Coolidge in 1924 . I had just been elected to the United States Senate . ( Laughter . ) And I reme - — I remember telling him , “Cal , just be yourself . Get up there and speak from the heart . You’re going to be great , kid . You’re going to do it well . ” ( Laughter . ) Of course , Jill is with me tonight . Jilly , how are you , kid ( Applause . ) I think — I think she’s doing an incredible job as First Lady . ( Applause . ) The First Lady to continue working full - time , and she does as a professor . She doesn’t pay much attention to the polls , though she did say the other day: Instead of introducing myself as Jill Biden’s husband , maybe I should introduce myself as her roommate . ( Laughter . ) I’ve attended this dinner many times , but this is my first time as President . And the organizers had — had it hard — made it pretty hard for me tonight . Although the good news is , if all goes well , I have a real shot at replacing James Corden . ( Laughter . ) It was great having him over at the White House the other day , just as he announced he’s leaving the show . A great performer is going out on top after eight years in the job . Sounds just about right to me . ( Laughter and applause . ) And it’s tough to follow pros like James and Billy Eichner . Billy , where are you again Do you — where is he Well , Billy , you’re famous for interviewing — your interviewing skills . Billy , you should know what you’re doing , pal . You know it — you know it well . And you should — I think you should host “Meet the Press . ” Maybe they’ll start to watch it again . ( Laughter . ) I’ve never had — ( laughs ) — never had to — ( laughs ) — I’ve never had to open — I’ll never be — I’ll never be invited to “Meet the Press” again . Anyway . ( Laughter . ) I’ve never had to open before Trevor Noah . Trevor is great . When I was elected , he did a show and he called me “America’s new dad . ” ( Laughter . ) Let me tell you something , pal: I’m flattered anybody would call me a “new” anything . ( Laughter . ) You’re my guy . And , folks , it’s been a tough few years for the country . That’s one reason why it’s great to be here again . Everyone at the White House is so excited . I told my grandkids and Pete Buttigieg they could stay up late and watch this show tonight . ( Laughter and applause . ) Tonight — tonight we come here and answer a very important question on everybody’s mind: Why in the hell are we still doing this ( Laughter . ) I know there are — I know there are questions about whether we should gather here tonight because of COVID . Well , we’re here to show the country that we’re getting through this pandemic . Plus , everyone had to prove they were fully vaccinated and boosted . ( Applause . ) So , if you’re at home watching this and you’re wondering how to do that , just contact your favorite Fox News reporter . They’re all here , vaccinated and boosted — all of them . ( Laughter and applause . ) And , look , Fox — Fox News , I’m — I’m really sorry your preferred candidate lost the last election . To make it up to you , I’m happy to give my Chief of Staff to you all so he can tell Sean Hannity what to say every day . ( Laughter . ) In fact , Ron Klain is here at the CBS table , which hired Mick Mulvaney . Mick , on CBS I was stunned . I figured he’d end up on “The Masked Singer” with Rudy . ( Laughter . ) Amazing hire , guys . Really quite amazing . Look , I know this is a tough town . I came to office with an ambitious agenda , and I expected it to face stiff opposition in the Senate . I just hoped it would be from Republicans . ( Laughter . ) But I’m not worried about the midterms . I’m not worried about them . We may end up with more partisan gridlock , but I’m confident we can work it out during my remaining six years in the presidency . ( Applause . ) And , folks , I’m not really here to roast the GOP . That’s not my style . Besides , there’s nothing I can say about the GOP that Kevin McCarthy hasn’t already put on tape . ( Laughter . ) And , you know , at the same — at the same time , a lot of people say the Republican Party is too extreme , too divisive , too controlled by one person . They say , “It’s not your father’s Republican Party . ” Ronald Reagan said , “Mr . Gorbachev , tear this wall down . ” Today’s Republicans say , “Tear down Mickey Mouse’s house . ” ( Laughter . ) And pretty soon , they’ll be storming Cinderella’s Castle , you can be sure of it . But Republicans seem to support one fella — some guy named Brandon . ( Laughter . ) He’s having a really good year , and I’m kind of happy for him . ( Laughter and applause . ) Let me conclude with a serious word . We live in serious times . We’re coming through a devastating pandemic , and we have to stay vigilant . I know Kamala wanted to be here , for example , and thankfully she’s doing well . You should all know she sends her best . ( Applause . ) We’re in a time when what we so long have taken for granted is facing the gravest of threats . And I’m being deadly earnest . Oversear [sic] — overseas , the liberal world order that laid the foundation for global peace , stability , and prosperity since World War Two is genuinely , seriously under assault . And at home , a poison is running through our democracy of all — all of this taking place with disinformation massively on the rise , where the truth is buried by lies and the lies live on as truth . What’s clear — and I mean this from the bottom of my heart — that you , the free press , matter more than you ever did in the last century . ( Applause . ) No , I really mean it . I’ve always believed that good journalism holds up a mirror to ourselves to reflect on the good , the bad , and the true . Tonight , I want to congratulate the awardees and the scholarship winners who carry on that sacred tradition . We’ve all seen the courage of the Ukrainian people because of the courage of American reporters in this room and your colleagues across the world who are on the ground , taking their lives in their own hands . ( Applause . ) And although it’s not in Ukraine , it’s Russia — Mom , I’d like to meet you and Dad to talk about your son . We just — we just saw a heartbreaking video: Nine have been killed reporting from Kyiv — struck by a kamikaze drone strike after a shopping mall attack; shot in the neck while decounci - [sic] — while — while documenting Ukrainians fleeing; killed when Russian missiles hit the television tower in a residential neighborhood . One journalist from Radio Liberty just killed days ago . So many of you telling the stories and taking the photos and recording the videos of what’s happening there , the unvarnished truth shown — showing the — the destruction and the devastation and , yes , the war crimes . Tonight , we also honor the legacy of two historic reporters , and that is Alice Dunnigan and Ethel Payne . I’m glad you saw that tonight . ( Applause . ) I didn’t know you were doing that . These are the first Black women to be White House reporters who shattered convention to cover a segregated nation . We honor journalists killed , missing , imprisoned , detained , and tortured; covering war , exposing corruption , and holding leaders accountable . We honor members of the press , both national and local , covering a once - in - a - century pandemic where we lost a million Americans , a generation reckoning on race , and the existential threat of climate change . The free press is not the enemy of the people — far from it . At your best , you’re guardians of the truth . President Kennedy once said , and I quote , “Without debate , without criticism , no administration , no country can succeed , and no republic can survive . ” The First Amendment grants a free press extraordinary protection , but with it comes , as many of you know , a very heavy obligation: to seek the truth as best you can — not to inflame or entertain , but to illuminate and educate . I know it’s tough . And I’m not being solicitous . The industry is changing significantly . There’s incredible pressure on you all to deliver heat instead of shed light , because the technology is changing so much , the system is changing . But it matters . No kidding . It matters . The truth matters . American democracy is not a reality show . ( Applause . ) It’s not a reality show . ( Applause . ) It’s reality itself . And the reality is that we are a great country . Our future is bright . It’s not guaranteed , because democracy is never guaranteed . It has to be earned . It has to be defended . It has to be protected . As you’ve heard me say many times: There’s not a damn thing this country can’t do when we stand united and do it together . And I know we can do anything we want to do that’s right . I’ve been around a long time , as has been pointed out many times tonight . ( Laughter . ) But I give you my word as a Biden: I’ve never been more optimistic about America than I am today . I really mean it . At times of enormous change , it presents enormous opportunities . For despite all the crises , all the partisanship , all the shouting and the showmanship , I really know this and you know it too: We are a great nation because we’re basically a good people . And here in America , good journalism , good satire about our leaders , about our society is quintessentially an American thing . It demonstrates the power of our example . And I , honest to God , believe it reveals our soul — the soul of our nation . And that’s what I’d like to toast tonight , if I may . ( The President offers a toast . ) To the journalists and their families , to the people and their elected representatives , to the United States of America . ( Applause . ) And by the way , Madeleine Albright was right: We are the indispensable nation . ( Applause . ) Ladies and gentlemen , I’m going to turn this over to Trevor now , strap myself into my seat . ( Laughter . ) And , Trevor , the really good news is: Now you get to roast the President of the United States and , unlike in Moscow , you won’t go to jail . ( Laughter . ) The podium is yours . ( Applause . ) 10:21 P . M . EDT
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