President Biden has shrugged off low poll numbers by saying that’s not why he’s running for president and spoke at length about his meeting with Pope Francis, referring to the pope as a “real respectable man” at a news conference Sunday following the G20 summit in Rome. .
Biden was asked about his comments that claimed America was back even as his favorable ratings collapsed, his legislative agenda faltered in Congress and the tight race for state governors in Virginia between Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin.
“Because of the way they have interacted,” Biden said on the last day of the meeting of the leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies.
“Listen to everyone, they look up to me. They wanted to know our opinions. And they helped us lead what happened here,” he said at the press conference, which started about 50 minutes late. “The USA is the most important part of this entire agenda.”
“By the way, look, the polls are going to go up and down, up and down. They were higher early on. Then they got average. Then they went back up and now they were low,” he continued.
“Look at every other president. The same thing happened, but I didn’t run for that. I didn’t run to determine how well I did in the polls,” he said, adding that he ran to help American workers get better salaries and good jobs, to fight climate change and to help Solve the crisis caused by the coronavirus epidemic.
While he referred to his remarks during the press conference and called reporters by order and by name, his most comprehensive and unscripted comments came when asked about Pope Francis, whom he called a “good Catholic” despite his support for abortion rights.
“This is a man with great empathy — a man who understands that part of his Christianity is communication and forgiveness,” Biden said. “And so, I find my relationship with him one that I personally enjoy – he’s a really true gentleman.”
He did not address the question of the split in the Catholic Church as some bishops questioned whether Biden should continue to receive the Eucharist despite his stance on abortion.
The president spoke about his and his family’s relationship with Pope Francis after his son, Beau Biden, died in May 2015 of brain cancer.
“When I lost a real part of my soul – when I lost my lover, my son,” said the chief, noting that the Pope had advised him.
When Francis visited the United States later that year in September, he met the Bidens in a hangar at Philadelphia Airport.
“He came over and talked to my family for a long period of time — 10, 15 minutes about my son Beau,” Biden recalled, stopping in occasionally. “And not only did he talk about him in general, he knew about him, he knew what he was doing, he knew who he was, and he knew where to go to school. He knew what a man was, and he had a healing effect on his children, my wife, and our family.”
The Pope, he said, “is all I’ve learned about Catholicism, since I was a kid I’d go from elementary school through high school.”
Biden, who received mass at St. Patrick’s Chapel after meeting the pope last Friday, said he did not want to talk much about his relationship with the pope.
“I’m not going to lie, this is just personal. I don’t want to talk more about it, because a lot of it is personal,” Biden said.