Content Warning: Discussions of violence
Wednesday evening saw President Joe Biden address a joint session in Congress announcing a new investment plan for jobs, education and social care on the eve of his 100th day in office.
The new plan, which the President called “once in a generation investment in America itself” presented the ‘American Jobs Plan’ and the ‘American Families Plan’ is covered by some $4 trillion in spending.
In a historic night that saw for the first time two women, Vice-President Kamala Harris and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, sit behind the President during a speech to Congress, we look back at the first 100 days of Biden presidency.
The Coronavirus Pandemic
On February 16, the President said Coronavirus vaccines would be available for all Americans by the end of July, only a mere few days before the death toll of Covid-19 in the US surpassed 500,000.
The handling of the Coronavirus pandemic was a key factor in the election of President Biden as former-President Trump’s delay in an initial response to the pandemic drew widespread criticism.
In response to the hardship many Americans have suffered because of the rampant number of cases of Covid-19, Joe Biden signed the Covid-19 Stimulus bill into law on March 11, after approval from the Senate and the House of Representatives.
March 11 also marked the one-year mark of the US’s fight against the coronavirus.
A day after the signing of the relief bill, American administered vaccinations passed 100 million.
In January, Biden pledged 100 million vaccines administered by his 100th day in office and at the end of March he doubled that.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 235 million vaccines have been administered meaning Biden achieved his target by his 100th day in office.
From the onset, Biden’s new role was somewhat overshadowed by the impeachment and eventual acquittal of his predecessor in early February and the aftermath of the January 6th Coup on Capital Hill by right-wing protestors before his inauguration.
President Biden and Vice-President Harris flew to Atlanta, Georgia on March 19 to offer their support to the Asian American community after eight people were killed, six of whom were women of Asian decent, in a rampage through three spas in the Atlanta-area.
The visit came as new data revealed the number of anti-Asian hate incidents had increased in the year since the pandemic began.
“Silence is complicity. We cannot be complicit”, he said. “We have to speak out. We have to act”.
Only a few days later, ten people were killed in a mass shooting in a supermarket in Boulder, Colorado, including 11-year police veteran Eric Talley.
Biden, who as a Senator and a former Vice-President has been vocal about gun control reforms, announced an executive order limiting ‘ghost guns’ and making it easier to flag family members who shouldn’t be allowed to purchase firearms.
‘Ghost Guns’ are homemade guns which are self made meaning they do not have a serial number so cannot be traced. Background checks are also not required when purchasing assembly kits.
These controls were introduced after the mass shootings in Atlanta and Boulder that occurred within a few days of each other.
Only a few days before his address, five people were killed in a shooting in South Carolina and only a mere few hours after Biden’s address one person was killed and five people were injured in a shooting in Texas.
Biden’s gun control fight will be staunchly opposed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) who called Biden’s new measures in a tweet ‘extreme’ and said: “@NRA is ready to fight”.
Following this, on April 15 eight people were killed in a mass shooting at FedEx facility in Indianapolis.
After a year of Black Lives Matter protests that swept the globe after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, on April 20 Derek Chauvin was found guilty of his murder.
Chauvin was found guilty on all counts, second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and will be sentenced in June.
President Biden said the conviction was a “giant step forward in the march towards justice in America” but warned “we can’t stop here”.
At a press conference in March, Biden was quizzed on the surge of undocumented migrant children arriving at the US-Mexico border.
But Biden claimed his policies were not the cause of the increase, blaming former President Trump for implementing policies that led to overcrowding in facilities at the border.
The US-Mexico border was an issue high up on the former President’s agenda with NBC saying Biden was “blaming former President Donald Trump for neglecting Central America”.
Biden also introduced a $2trillion infrastructure plan to rebuild roads, expand access to clean water and broadband, and invest in the care of the elderly.
At the end of February, Biden ordered airstrikes in Syria that the Pentagon claimed were used by Iranian-backed militias.
These strikes were said to be in retaliation for rocket attacks on US targets in Iraq.
NBC reported the president’s decision appeared to be aimed at sending a signal to Iran and its proxies that Washington would not tolerate attacks on its personnel in Iraq.
Biden also announced that a full withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan will begin at the beginning of May, ending 20 years of US military involvement.
Biden said: “It’s time to end America’s longest war. It is time for American troops to come home” and confirmed the US would continue to support the Afghanistan government and will continue diplomatic and humanitarian work in the country while supporting peace talks as well.
On April 16, the President hosted the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, his first in-person meeting with a world leader since he became President.
The meeting between the two leaders highlighted the Biden administration’s focus on strengthening ties with allies in Asia.
The White House confirmed the next in-person leaders meeting would be with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next month.
Joe Biden’s first 100 days were filled with sadness and fear as the country struggles to find an end to gun violence, but also hope as over 200 million people have been vaccinated in the fight against the Coronavirus.
Who can say what the next 100 days will hold but it definitely will be one to watch.
Feature Image Credit: – The White House