UPDATED: President Joe Biden weighed in on the Writers Guild of America strike, telling a gathering at the White House that he believes that writers should be given “a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible.”
“I sincerely hope the writers’ strike in Hollywood gets resolved, and the writers are given a fair deal they deserve as soon as possible,” Biden said at a screening of the upcoming Disney+ series American Born Chinese.
He drew big cheers for the remarks.
“This is an iconic, meaningful American industry, and we need the writers and all the workers and everyone involved to tell the stories of our nation, the stories of all of us.”
The White House last week declined to comment on the WGA strike. Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre telling reporters that the policy is not to comment on an ongoing work stoppage but that the president “is a strong supporter of workers’ rights to strike.”
In other remarks at the event, Biden keyed in on the presence of the series star, recent Oscar winner Ke Huy Quan.
“My name is Joe Biden,” the president said from the East Room at the outset of the event, to some chuckles. “I have never won an Academy Award. I can’t act worth a damn. Can’t sing, can’t dance, can’t do much of anything. But it is good to be with all of you.”
The screening of American Born Chinese, on a giant screen set up for the guests, was just the latest project to get special White House recognition, this time tied into the administration’s celebration of Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Biden referenced Quan’s comeback, having been a child actor only to see roles dry up as an adult. His career was revived only recently with Everything Everywhere All At Once.
Noting the actor’s childhood role in Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom, Biden said, “I hate to say, that’s how I remember you.”
“That look in your face in that scene,” Biden added. “Remember that? How can you forget that? It was a decision that would give him a sense of purpose and change his life for him and his entire family, only to see the decades pass without new opportunities. But his wife, Echo, she in fact kept the faith, telling him, ‘Your time will come.’”
Quan was at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and Biden said that he had a joke prepared about him.
“I had a joke for you, pal,” Biden said. “How you were famous in the 1980s, then people counted you out, only to finally make it big and three years later. Well, I know something about that too.”
Biden said, “But your time did come as it has for the entire community, a diverse community, culture, reflected in every part of American life.”
As he did in his Oscar acceptance speech, Quan described his journey as a refugee from Vietnam to California to Academy Award winning actor. “I do not take this moment lightly, because I know this building is a monument to a country that opened its arms to me once upon a time,” he said, adding that “he couldn’t help but tear up” as he entered the east entrance of the White House.
“I’ve never been here before,” he said, speaking from a lectern next to Biden. “Now, this is the way to go to the White House!”
He said that American Born Chinese is about an immigrant family with an American son, “finding their way, forging their own path and dealing with all the highs and lows of that difficult journey. It’s about the blending of cultures, influences and values into a new American identity.”