Joe Biden Promises Freedom for Jailed WSJ Reporter Evan Gershkovich at White House Correspondents Dinner – During his speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday, President Joe Biden pledged to secure the release of Americans who have been unfairly detained abroad, such as Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was recently arrested in Moscow.
Although the majority of his address was light-hearted and humorous, Biden started on a more serious tone by assuring the audience of his dedication to bringing home wrongly detained Americans, including journalists. During his speech, Biden addressed Gershkovich’s family directly, who was in the crowd at the dinner: “We all stand with you,” to roaring applause. “Evan went to report Russia to shed light on the darkness that you all escaped from years ago. Absolute courage,” Biden said to the family, who immigrated from Russia.
At the black-tie annual event attended by journalists and Washington insiders, President Biden, who is 80 years old, had his first significant public opportunity to speak since declaring his re-election campaign last Tuesday. The event also provided him with the chance to entertain the audience with a few humorous one-liners. Biden poked fun at himself by acknowledging criticisms that he does not answer enough questions from journalists.
“In a lot of ways this dinner sums up my first two years in office. Talk for ten minutes, take zero questions and cheerfully walk away,” he joked. “I know I just announced my re-election campaign. Some of you scooped that I’d announced in the video,” he said. “But really in all our hearts you thought I just blurted it out, didn’t you?” The president also joked about his age, taking some shots at the media.
“Call me old? I call it being seasoned. You say I’m ancient, I say I’m wise. You say I’m over the hill — Don Lemon would say that’s a man in his prime,” he joked about the recently fired CNN anchor, who drew heat for insinuating that former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was past her prime to run for president. Biden took a few cracks at Republicans as well, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — whom he could potentially be running against in 2024.
“I had a lot of Ron DeSantis jokes ready,” Biden said, stumbling. “But Mickey Mouse beat the hell out of him when he got there first,” he said referencing DeSantis legal war with the Walt Disney company. Before he left the podium, Biden turned to the evening’s headliner, stand-up comic and “The Daily Show Host Roy Wood Jr.” who was due up next. He said to him “I’m gonna be fine with your jokes, but I’m not sure about Dark Brandon,” referencing a popular meme about himself.