President Biden, who often avoided calling out Trump by name on the campaign trail and during the transition, took several digs at his predecessor Thursday in his first news conference since being inaugurated.
Biden laughed when a reporter noted that by this point in his presidency, Trump had already set up a reelection campaign.
“My predecessor,” he said, chuckling, before he deadpanned: “Oh, God, I miss him.”
When asked if he thought he might be running against Trump again in 2024, Biden scoffed.
“Oh, come on,” he said. “I have no idea. I have no idea if there will be a Republican Party. Do you?”
On the issue of immigration, Biden forcefully defended his rolling back of certain policies that were in place under Trump — including that of separating migrant children from their parents — saying they did not help stem the pace of people migrating to the border.
“Rolling back the policies of separating children from their mothers? I make no apology for that. Rolling back the policies of ‘Remain in Mexico,’ sitting on the edge of the Rio Grande in a muddy circumstance with not enough to eat? I make no apologies for that,” Biden said.
“I make no apologies for ending programs that did not exist before Trump became president that have an incredibly negative impact on the law, international law, as well as on human dignity,” Biden added.
And without naming Trump, Biden implied that the former president had given China a pass on human rights violations and not spoken out forcefully enough against the mistreatment of the Uyghur population in China or the erosion of democracy in Hong Kong.
“I made it clear that no American president — at least one did — but no American president ever backed down from speaking out of what’s happening with the Uyghurs, what’s happening in Hong Kong,” Biden said. “That’s who we are. The moment a president walks away from that, as the last one did, is the moment we began to lose our legitimacy around the world.”