President Biden thanks Georgians during rally to celebrate first 100 days in office

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — President Joe Biden came to metro Atlanta on Thursday to hold a rally to celebrate his first 100 days in office. The drive-in event was held in Duluth at Infinite Energy Center.

Biden came to Georgia to talk about his administration’s accomplishments, including vaccinating more than 200 million Americans.

“We’ve vastly expanded access. We got 100 million doses of vaccine, enough for every single American. And we’ve done it by getting vaccines to some 40,000 pharmacies across the country, 700 community centers,” Biden said.

During his speech, Biden thanked Georgians for helping elect him.

“What did you do? What did you do with your vote here in Georgia? Well, you changed America. You began to change America. And you’re helping us prove that democracy can still deliver for the people,” Biden said. “Because of you, we passed one of the most consequential rescue bills in American history.”

Biden also talked about his next big agenda item, infrastructure.

“We’re going to replace 100% of those nation’s lead pipes and service lines so every child can have a turn on the faucet and know what they’re drinking is clean water. Folks, we’re going to provide reliable, high-speed internet everywhere in America, including rural America,” Biden said. “Fifteen percent of Georgia households do not have internet at all. We’re going to change that. And those infrastructure projects are going to create millions of good-paying jobs just installing them.”

Biden also gave praise to Georgians for electing the state’s newest senators -- Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock.

“We promised to deliver emergency relief to the millions of Americans who were in financial distress,” Biden said. “We’ve already sent more than 160 million checks out the door. And I want to stop here and give thanks to both your senators, Sens. Ossof and Warnock, for making it happen, because those two votes, had we not come back and you elected them, those two votes made the difference.

Biden’s visit comes a little more than a year out from when Warnock’s seat is up for election again. That seat, and Georgia, are critical to the Biden administration and the Democrats’ hold on Congress.

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While crews were setting up the stage, Channel 2′s Richard Elliot spoke with Georgia Republican Party chair David Shafer who believes his party has a good shot at winning that seat back.

“Georgia is obviously competitive and our top priority in 2022 is to win back that senate seat, and I think that you’ve seen Biden here and will continue to see him here because he has a lot of work to do,” Shafer said.

Elliot also spoke with White House deputy communications director Kate Berner who said this visit is more about letting Georgia and the country know the president delivered on his promises.

“In January, the president traveled to Georgia and he promised that he would deliver checks, $1,400 checks in folks’ pockets. Now, on our 100th day, there’s more than 150 million Americans around the country who have those checks in their pockets,” Berner said.

Not everyone was happy to see Biden arrive in Georgia.

Several supporters of former President Donald Trump held up signs and protested outside the entrance of the Infinite Energy Center.

One of the biggest issues they had was the crisis at the U.S./Mexico border and Biden’s policies on immigration.

“He needs to take care of Americans. I don’t care what color you are, what gender you are, what you do for a living -- America comes first and that’s it. All these people crossing the border, it’s just ridiculous,” said Caroline Neighbors. “We fought for this country. I fought for this country. My father fought for this country. A lot of patriots … we fought for this country. And we don’t want all these people coming and taking over our country.”

Protesters also interrupted Biden toward the beginning of his speech Thursday.

A small group of protesters began chanting “end detention now” and “close detention centers.” They were also holding a sign that read “Abolish ICE.”

Biden reacted to them saying, “I agree with you. I’m working on it.”

“Private detention centers. They should not exist, and we are working to close all of them,” Biden continued.

Before heading to Duluth, the Bidens met with former President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn at the Carters’ home in Plains.

Biden and Carter have a long history. When Carter first moved into the White House in 1977, Biden was in his first term in the U.S. Senate.

Because COVID-19 prevented the Carters from attending the January inauguration in Washington, Biden decided to come to them.