Biden sidesteps Chicago shootings for ‘boring’ speech in suburb

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Biden sidesteps Chicago shootings for 'boring' speech in suburb

President Biden largely ignored the 100-plus people shot in Chicago this past weekend during a Tuesday speech outside the Windy City that he admitted was “boring” — before stumbling on the stairs while leaving the stage.

An unidentified man sprang into action and put his hand on Biden’s back to steady the 78-year-old commander in chief following his appearance at at McHenry County College in the battleground suburb of Crystal Lake, Ill.

Biden barely spoke above a whisper during a 30-minute address in which he promoted his costly “Build Back Better” plan and said that any infrastructure improvements needed to be paired with spending on education, child care and health care.

Instead of talking in Chicago about the scourge of shootings sending residents ducking for cover, the president’s agenda-visit was in the congressional district of Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood, who won reelection last November to a second term by less than two points. 

Biden also carried the district last year by just two percentage points and Underwood’s seat is among the GOP’s prime targets in upcoming the 2020 midterm elections.

President Joe Biden waves as he boards Air Force One upon departure at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Wednesday, July 7, 2021.
President Joe Biden said that any infrastructure improvements needed to be paired with spending on education, child care and health care.
Shafkat Anowar/AP

The National Republican Congressional Committee considers her “vulnerable” as she runs for reelection next year, Fox News reported, noting that political columnist and analyst Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun Times this week described the area as “one of the redder parts of one of the bluest states in the nation.”

Biden’s trip also came a week after he held an event in the La Crosse, Wisconsin, district of longtime Democratic Rep. Ron Kind, who also narrowly won reelection last year and faces a challenge in 2022, Fox News reported.

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tried to downplay the political implications of Biden’s trip, saying he “ran as someone who would represent not just Democrats, not just Republicans, not just independents, but all people.”

A secret service agent, right, monitors a group of protesters who've gathered outside of the gym at McHenry County College where President Joe Biden will speak on Wednesday, July 7, 202
A secret service agent monitors a group of protesters gathered outside McHenry County College where President Joe Biden was speaking on July 7, 2021.
Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool

Among the proposals he outlined in Illinois Wednesday, is providing a “minimum of 14 years of education” for America’s youth by having taxpayers fund two years of free community college.

“Does anybody think in the 21st century — with the changes taking place in technology across the board — that 12 years of education is enough?” he said.

“I don’t think so.”

President Joe Biden greets Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, as he arrives at O'Hare International Airport, Wednesday, July 7, 2021
President Joe Biden greets Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, as he arrives at O’Hare International Airport on July 7, 2021.
Evan Vucci/AP

Biden also outlined details of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal he struck with congressional Republicans last month, which is part of the total $6 trillion he wants to spend on reviving the economy as the nation rebounds from COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

And while Biden praised the bipartisan nature of the agreement, he took a swipe at GOP senators, accusing them of using the filibuster “constantly, more than has ever been used in history.”

That claim came even though the nonpartisan Brookings Institution has pointed out, “It’s difficult to count filibusters because there is no official process behind them.”

President Joe Biden speaks with Lily in the Children's Learning Center at McHenry County College on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Crystal Lake, Ill.
President Joe Biden speaks with Lily in the Children’s Learning Center at McHenry County College on July 7, 2021, in Crystal Lake, Ill.
Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool

Biden also repeated his calls to raise taxes on high earners and expand access to broadband internet before telling the crowd, “I know that’s a boring speech, but it’s an important speech.”

Earlier, he met briefly with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on the tarmac at O’Hare International Airport, following a bloody Fourth of July weekend during which the Chicago Tribune said at least 108 people were shot.

The record amount of gun violence killed at least 17 victims, and two cops were among the wounded.

Three more law-enforcement officers — two federal agents and Chicago cop — were also shot and wounded while traveling in an unmarked car through the city’s Far South Side just hours before Biden landed in Air Force One.

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