President Biden held a press conference in Rome on Sunday to conclude a two-day meeting with G20 leaders before heading to a UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland.
Biden, who showed up more than 20 minutes late for the briefing, began by apologizing for his delay. “I apologize for making you wait,” he said. “We played with elevators. Long story short, at least.”
The President spoke further on the issues addressed by the G20 leaders during the summit, which focused primarily on climate issues but which also included “broad support” for a landmark agreement to establish a global minimum corporate tax of 15%.
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G20 leaders made a vague commitment during their meeting to seek carbon neutrality “by or around the middle of the century”, which some argued is not enough to curb the threats of climate change.
The president called out China and Russia, saying they “did not show up in any form of any commitment to tackle climate change. And there is a reason why people should be disappointed that I found it disappointing for myself.”
The US and the EU set 2050 as their goal of achieving net zero emissions. China, Russia and Saudi Arabia, whose leaders did not attend the G20 summit, have set 2060 as the year they hope to achieve the same. China is leading the way in emerging economies, whose emissions increase along with their economic growth.
Biden also declined his plummeting polls at home, with 54% of voters disapproving of his performance and 71% believing the country is heading in the wrong direction, according to an NBC News vote released Sunday.
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“Look, the polls are going to go up and down and up and down. They were high early, then they became medium, then they went up again, and now they’re low,” Biden said. Biden said it has happened to every president, saying, “That’s not why I ran. I did not run to decide how well I will do in the polls. I ran to make sure I followed up on what I said I would do as President of the United States. “
Biden concluded the press conference by speaking about his Roman Catholic faith and his meeting with Pope Francis. After taking a question about calls from some American bishops that he should be denied communion because of his abortion vision, Biden said the question was “personal” but also continued to praise the pope for supporting him when his son Beau died.
As he left the press, Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy shouted a question and asked, “Mr. President, is it true that we will give $ 450,000 to separated border crossers?”
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Biden did not answer the question, but instead looked away from the camera and scratched his forehead.
From Rome, Biden travels to Scotland for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26).
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.