President Joe Biden touched down in San Francisco on Tuesday where he is set to hold a high-profile meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping while facing a potential government shutdown back in Washington D.C.
Greeting him at the airport was California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has become a top Biden campaign surrogate after last year being mentioned as a potential presidential candidate.
Newsom, who recently returned from his own meeting with Xi in Beijing, is hosting a big bucks fundraiser for Biden’s campaign along with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Joining him at San Francisco International Airport to greet Biden was his wife Jennifer, along with city mayor London Breed and Rep. Kevin Mullin (D-Calif.).
The president offered brief words about the strained US-China relationship shortly before leaving the White House.
He called for bringing them back to a ‘normal course of corresponding.’
‘We’re not trying to decouple from China. What we’re trying to do is change the relationship for the better,’ he said.
Biden’s Wednesday meeting with Xi is the main event of his four-day visit to San Francisco, where leaders from the 21 economies that make up the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum are gathering for their annual summit.
The president’s motorcade was greeted by hundreds of cheering people as he drove from the San Francisco International Airport to his stay in the downtown area.
They waved Chinese and American flags, cheering as the motorcade raced by.
President Joe Biden greets California Gov. Gavin Newsom, center, and his wife Jennifer, San Francisco London Breed and Rep. Kevin Mullin, D-Calif., front, as he arrives at San Francisco International Airport for the APEC summit. Newsom has become a top campaign surrogate for Biden, 80
California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife Jennifer wait to greet President Joe Biden at San Francisco International Airport. Newsom is set to hold a fundraiser for Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris Tuesday evening
President Biden was greeted by hundreds of people lining his motorcade route in downtown San Francisco – cheering him as he raced by
U.S.-China relations have been frayed for months, but the White House hopes a chugging U.S. economy and slowing unemployment can bring it new credibility in Biden’s talks with other leaders.
‘The president really feels we’ve got the wind at our back here,’ said White House national security spokesman John Kirby on the flight west.
Kirby also made some news as he briefed reporters Tuesday. He said Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad used tunnels beneath hospitals in Gaza to conceal military operations and to hold hostages. It was just the first time the war in the Middle East was expected to inject itself into the economic conversation that drew world leaders here.
Additionally, Biden has been urged to meet San Francisco’s homeless and see the city’s squalor first-hand while he’s in the city by the Bay. Social rights advocates have criticized the recent cleanup spree of San Francisco streets, saying it’s merely not to embarrass the country when all the foreign leaders are in town.
But while Asian-Pacific issues are on the table, Biden will also work to keep the Israel-Hamas war from exploding into a broader conflict and to persuade Republican lawmakers to continue to spend billions more on the costly Ukrainian effort to repel Russia‘s nearly 21-month old invasion.
Supporters await the arrival of China’s President Xi Jinping next to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit
President Joe Biden is in San Francisco for high-stakes talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping while hosting the APEC conference
Biden’s agenda includes international diplomacy, economic cooperation – and raising campaign cash
‘President Biden this coming week will be doing a lot more than just meeting with President Xi,’ White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Monday.
He added that Biden would put forward his economic vision for the region, make the case that the U.S. is ‘the very eminent driver’ for sustainable economic growth in the Asia-Pacific, and hold the region out as critical to U.S. economic growth.
While in San Francisco, Biden also will attend a fundraiser Tuesday night for his re-election. He’ll also hold a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
Meanwhile, back in Washington, Speaker Mike Johnson’s plan to avert a government shutdown faces a key vote on Tuesday, as he tries to overcome hardline opposition from his own Republicans but may pick up some support from Democrats.
Johnson is trying to rally Republican support for a ‘clean’ two-step continuing resolution, or ‘CR,’ that would keep federal funding levels unchanged into early next year.
President Joe Biden boarded Air Force One to make his way to San Francisco for his high stakes meeting with Xi Jinping
Biden holds talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping
Biden is hosting the APEC summit in San Francisco this week
The president faces polling troubles in his campaign and political troubles in Washington, with government funding set to expire Friday and House Republicans preparing to move a ‘laddered’ short term funding extension
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Congress’ top Democrat, gave a tentative welcome to the proposal on Monday.
‘For now, I am pleased that Speaker Johnson seems to be moving in our direction by advancing a CR that does not include the highly partisan cuts that Democrats have warned against,’ Schumer said
But House Republican hardliners are threatening to use procedural roadblocks to stop the bill from advancing.
And, if it does pass both chambers of Congress, Biden must still sign it into law. The deadline to fund the government is midnight Friday.