MILWAUKEE (WKOW) — President Joe Biden was in Wisconsin Tuesday evening on his first official trip since taking office. At a town hall with CNN, he answered questions from several Wisconsinites.
While Biden covered several topics during the town hall, his main focus was the pandemic and how he thinks the country should move forward over the next several months.
“By the end of July we’ll have 600 million doses, enough to vaccinate every American,” Biden said.
He also touted progress the country has made in increasing the number of people who can give vaccine and making vaccines more accessible.
Biden said all of this will contribute to the eventual return to normalcy. He said he doesn’t want to make a specific prediction, but he believes the pandemic will improve significantly by Christmas.
Several parents and teachers also asked Biden about his promise to reopen schools in his first 100 days in office.
He said he thinks most Kindergarten through eighth grade schools will be open in that time frame, and his goal is for students to be back in-person five days per week.
However, Biden said that goal will be harder to achieve for high school students because older students are more likely to transmit the virus.
Biden said small class sizes, social distancing and masks are key to the schools safely reopening. He also said he thinks teachers should move up the eligibility list for vaccines. In Wisconsin, teachers are set to become eligible on March 1, but DHS has said that date could change based on availability.
Biden covers other topics
The president didn’t only talk about the pandemic. He also answered questions about racial justice, immigration reform, student loan forgiveness and the minimum wage.
He said he supports a $15 minimum wage, but he said any change would be gradual.
“No one should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty,” he said.
A Rock County resident asked Biden about police funding, specifically the call to ‘defund the police.’
Biden said he does not support defunding the police and wants to put more money into police departments in order to improve community policing.
He continued his answer by talking about drug sentencing.
“No one should go to jail for a drug offense,” Biden said. “No one should go to jail for the use of a drug. They should go to drug rehabilitation.”
During the town hall, Biden said he didn’t want to spend much time talking about former President Donald Trump, but he said all past presidents except one have called him since his inauguration.
One Wisconsinite asked Biden about the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, and Biden said he considers white supremacists to be the greatest domestic terrorist threat.
“It is a bane on our existence,” he said. “These guys and women are, in fact, demented. They are dangerous people.”