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Remarks Prior to Meeting With Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and an Exchange With Reporters

April 13, 2021

The President. Well, look, it's an honor to be with all of you today, and II know it's been a pretty painful week, you know, with the losses we've had. You know, a good friend, Alcee Hastings, which I knew a long, long time. And to lose him is losing a piece of the—I don't know what—just losing a piece of something.

And also, you know, with Daunte Wright in Minnesota—that God-awful shooting and resulting in his death—and in the midst of an ongoing trial over the killing of George Floyd. And Lord only knows what's happened based on what the verdict will or will not be there.

And—but we're in the business, all of us meeting today, to deliver some real change. When we took office—I had a talk with Jim at length about this—every single aspect of—I signed the Executive order—every single aspect of our Government, including every agency, has, as a primary focus, dealing with equity. And not a joke. From the beginning, we talked at length about it, Jim.

And not only is—but we also have an awful lot of things we have to deal with, not—when it comes to police, when it comes to advancing equality, economic opportunity. Cedric always says the thing that he—would drive him crazy is that everybody, when we want to talk about equity in the Black community, they talk about prisons. Well, that's part of it, man, but that's not—it's about income. It's about being able to earn a living. It's about being able to be in a position where you have economic opportunity.

And so I look forward to discussing all these priorities, the CBC priorities and the goals you have for the community, but quite frankly, for—the goals you have for the community are good for every community—for every community.

And I'd like to take some—spend some time in the American Jobs Act, which I think some of you actually helped me put that together with the ideas you gave me early on. And I think we can make significant, significant changes.

We—in the last little bit of legislation you helped me pass, we've reduced child poverty, and we reduced poverty in Black communities significantly, just by that act alone. One of my objectives there is—overall objectives is to make those changes permanent. You've been leading that one for a long time, pal.

And so—anyway, we've got a lot to talk about. And I'm looking forward to having this meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus. And they—I think we can get a lot done.

So thank you all for joining us.

Q. Mr. President——

Q. Mr. President, a question about the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

[At this point, several reporters asked questions at once.]

Law Enforcement's Interactions With the African American Community

Q. Mr. President, what is the actual hope that people should have that there'll be a change in the way that African Americans interact with police in this country during the Biden era? What can you deliver on, sir?

The President. A lot. And I'll tell you later. Let's go.

Coronavirus Vaccine Availability

Q. Any response to the Johnson and Johnson vaccine?

The President. My message to the American people on the vaccine is—I told you all: I made sure we have 600 million doses of the MR—not of either Johnson and Johnson and/or AstraZeneca. So there's enough vaccine that is basically a hundred-percent unquestionable for every single, solitary American.

Thank you.

NOTE: The President spoke at 2:35 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, who died on April 6; Daunte Wright, who was killed during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, MN, on April 11; House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn; and White House Director of Public Engagement Cedric L. Richmond.

Joseph R. Biden, Remarks Prior to Meeting With Members of the Congressional Black Caucus and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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