President Biden will speak on Thursday night to commemorate the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., marking the occasion with remarks that are expected to be both mournful and hopeful, per The Associated Press.
In his first primetime address since taking office, Biden will "talk about what we've been through as a nation this past year, but more importantly, I'm going to talk about what comes next," he told reporters. While mourning the 529,000 Americans who have died of COVID-19, Biden will encourage people to remain vigilant to prevent more deaths.
He's also expected to tout the $1.9 trillion relief bill that just passed Congress, describing how it will help people affected by the pandemic. Biden will sign the bill into law on Thursday afternoon, just hours before his scheduled speech. Aside from reflecting on the past year and talking about what's to come, the remarks are also essentially the kickoff to Biden's promotional tour for the American Rescue Plan. "The White House hopes that as Biden assumes the role of cheerleader for the virus relief package, the elements of the $1.9 trillion bill that are popular with Republicans will boost his support even further," writes AP.
The New York Times describes this as "one of the biggest moments for the new president since his inauguration." As presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told AP, "this is a big moment ... [It's] a chance for him to really beam into everybody's living rooms and to be both the mourner in chief and to explain how he's leading the country out of this."
Biden's remarks will begin at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on major news networks. You can also find it via the White House's official livestream. Summer Meza