Speed Reads

biden press conference

Biden: People aren't coming to the border because 'I'm a nice guy'

President Biden during his first solo White House news conference faced questions about the current surge of migrants at the southern border, denying the notion that it's partially due to perceptions of him as a "decent" person.

Biden during the White House news conference responded dismissively when PBS NewsHour's White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor said that "the reason why a lot of immigrants are coming to this country" right now is because there's a "perception" of him as "a moral, decent man." The president argued against this idea.

"Does anybody suggest that there was a 31 percent increase under Trump because he was a nice guy, and he was doing good things at the border?" Biden asked. "That's not the reason they're coming. ... I'd like to think it's because I'm a nice guy, but it's not. It's because of what's happened every year."

Instead, Biden suggested the "significant" increase is because "it's the time they can travel with the least likelihood of dying on the way because of the heat in the desert," and because of "the circumstances in country." Later, though, another reporter quoted the mother of migrant child she recently spoke with who said she sent him to the border "because she believes that you are not deporting unaccompanied minors like her son," prompting the question of whether the president's messaging is encouraging families to come.

"The idea that I'm going to say, which I would never do, if an unaccompanied child ends up at the border, we're just going to let them starve to death and stay on the other side ... no previous administration did that either, except Trump," Biden said in response. "I'm not going to do it."

When Biden was subsequently asked if images of a crowded facility at the border are "acceptable" to him, he shot back, "That's a serious question, right? Is it acceptable to me? Come on." He promised his administration is taking steps to resolve these "totally unacceptable" conditions. Brendan Morrow