"children are going to bed hungry. A lot of families are food insecure. They are in trouble. That's my job," Biden told reporters

By Sean Neumann
February 10, 2021 01:08 PM
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Joe Biden, Donald Trump
Joe Biden and Donald Trump
| Credit: Alex Wong/Getty; SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty

President Joe Biden says he is "not" going to watch Donald Trump's second impeachment trial, which began Tuesday.

Reporters in the Oval Office that day asked if Biden planned to watch any of his predecessor's trial in the Senate.

"I am not," Biden, 78, said, adding, “I tell people that I have a job. … We have already lost over 450,000 people and we could lose a whole lot more if we don't act and act decisively and quickly."

Biden has long said managing the COVID-19 pandemic is his administration's main priority.

"A lot of people, as I have said before, children are going to bed hungry. A lot of families are food insecure. They are in trouble. That's my job," Biden told reporters Tuesday, before the trial began.

"The Senate has their job and they are about to begin it and I am sure they are going to conduct themselves well," the president added. "And that's all I am going to have to say about impeachment."

At least 468,000 people have died from the novel coronavirus in the U.S. out of more than 27.2 million confirmed cases, according to a New York Timestracker.

Rather than risk the initial weeks of his administration being overshadowed by the exit of his predecessor, Biden and his aides have taken pains to make clear that he supports Trump's impeachment but would prefer to focus on what he sees as more urgent matters of the presidency while the Senate takes up Trump's charge.

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden
| Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty
President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden in the Oval Office on Tuesday.
| Credit: Pete Marovich-Pool/Getty

"I'm no longer in the Senate, obviously, and I don't know what is likely to happen," Biden, 78, told PEOPLE in a cover story earlier this month, first interview as president alongside First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

"It's probably not likely to get 17 Republicans to change their view and convict on impeachment. But I think it's important that there be certain basic standards and people [at] least are able to see what happened and make their own judgements," the president said then.

Of Trump, he said, "I'm not looking for any retribution. My job is to try to heal the country and move us forward, because I think we have so many opportunities as a country. I really do."

This week's White House press briefings have largely focused on impeachment matters, though Press Secretary Jen Psaki has demurred on offering fresh analysis.

Biden "ran against [Trump] because he felt he was unfit for office and he defeated him … I think his views of the former president are pretty clear," Psaki said earlier this week.

Trump's impeachment trial is expected to last until the weekend at least.

Fifty-six senators, including six Republicans, voted Tuesday to allow the trial to proceed — but that suggests there is not the two-thirds majority needed to convict.