After a devastating state election defeat blamed on sloth and infighting among the party’s lawmakers, President Joe Biden returned from Europe on Wednesday with a wake-up call for warring Democrats holding up his broad domestic changes in Congress.
“I know that people want us to get things done,” he had said when asked about Terry McAuliffe’s loss to a Republican newcomer in the Virginia governor’s contest on Tuesday.
“That’s why I’m keeping up the pressure on the Democratic Party to move forward with my infrastructure bill and my Build Back Better measure.”
Biden returned home to a Republican red wave that surged over the eastern United States Tuesday, from Virginia Beach to Long Island and beyond, despite his low approval ratings and unhappiness with his delayed economic program.
In typically blue-trending Virginia, Republicans pulled off a major upset in the gubernatorial election, with untested multimillionaire Glenn Youngkin defeating McAuliffe, while the Democratic governor of New Jersey barely won re-election.
There were also Republican victories in New York Place, as well as a conservative backlash to a liberal proposal to abolish the local police force in Minneapolis, the city where George Floyd was slain by cops.
Biden expressed confidence in the results in Virginia and New Jersey only hours before the polls closed, rejecting any suggestion that they were a referendum on his presidency.
On Wednesday, when asked numerous times if he was responsible for the bloodshed in municipal elections, he avoided delivering a direct answer.
“People are concerned and uncertain about a variety of things,” he told reporters at the White House, “from Covid to school, to jobs, to a whole range of things, including the cost of a gallon of gasoline.”
“And so, if I can sign my Build Back Better program into law, I’m in a position where you’ll see a lot of those things improved immediately and swiftly.” As a result, that must be done.”