Biden’s Christmas speech touts progress over politics


Thursday was an unusually hectic day in Washington and across the country.

Congress worked to avoid a government shutdown before Christmas weekend. Frantic vacation travelers sat anxiously in airports hoping to catch a flight as powerful storms disrupted air and road traffic. Political and media operatives reviewed the newly released testimony of the January 6 committee witnesses and awaited the printing of the 800-page report, along with the possible release of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns.

But President Joe Biden didn’t talk about any of that as he stood behind a podium in the holiday-decorated White House. Instead, the president delivered a short and aspirationally apolitical speech, wishing Americans a Merry Christmas and asking them to treat each other with kindness and respect.

“I really hope they take the time to look out for each other, not each other,” Biden said.

“I sincerely hope this holiday season ends the poison that has infected our politics and pitted us against each other,” Biden added, urging a “fresh start for our nation” after a period of bitter division and partisanship.

“Too often, we see each other as enemies, not neighbors,” Biden lamented. He urged Americans during the holidays to “take a few moments of quiet reflection: to find that stillness that is at the heart of Christmas and really look at each other, not as Democrats or Republicans, not as red or blue team members. . [but] as fellow Americans.

“We are truly blessed to live in this nation, and I really hope that we take the time to look out for each other,” he added.

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Biden’s eight-minute speech was notable for its lack of news or political message. Modern presidents have often held year-end press conferences before leaving town for the holidays or cataloged their legislative successes from the previous year.

The White House said the address to the nation will focus on what unites Americans and present optimism for the coming year. But the comments were not the victory lap some had hoped for. Biden briefly mentioned the progress the nation had made: COVID-19 was no longer controlling American lives, children were going back to school, and unemployment was at low levels.

But he did not mention a single political victory of his own.

Biden, a devout Catholic, spoke about the meaning of Christmas for Christians, adding that his story also had universal messages of hope, community and compassion that resonate with people of all faiths, or no religious faith at all.

“My wish for you and for our nation, now and always, is that we live in the light, a light of freedom and hope, of love and generosity, of kindness and compassion, of dignity and decency,” Biden said.

The president and first lady Jill Biden are scheduled to pay a festive visit Friday to patients and families at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC


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