United States President Joe Biden said that the American people are "truly, really depressed" after two turbulent years marked by the coronavirus outbreak, economic turbulence, and now soaring gasoline prices that are squeezing family finances.
Regarding the American "psyche" as a whole, the president stated, "People are extremely depressed."
Biden pointed out that a recession is not inevitable and dismissed as "bizarre" accusations by Republican MPs that last year's COVID-19 aid plan was solely responsible for inflation reaching a 40-year high.
"They're in a terrible mood, the need for mental health in the United States has grown as a result of people's exposure to traumatic events," Biden said.
During a 30-minute interview with the Associated Press in the Oval Office, Biden discussed economists' predictions that the United States could be headed for a recession.
He said everything they've relied on has failed them, but the majority of this is a consequence of what has occurred, specifically the pandemic problem.
"First, it is not inevitable. We are in a better position than any other country in the world to combat inflation," he said.
As for the reasons for inflation, Biden exhibited some defensiveness on that count. He said if it his fault, then why is inflation higher in every other large industrial nation?
The president cited the 3.6% unemployment rate and America's relative strength in the world as reasons for hope.
Biden said that people must be confident, because he is confident that the country is in a better positioned compared to any other nation to dominate the second quarter of the 21st century.
Biden's pessimistic assessment of the national psyche comes as people have become dissatisfied with his job performance and the nation's direction.
According to a poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Research, only 39 percent of U.S. adults approve of Biden's work as president.
Overall, only around two in 10 individuals thought the U.S. is headed in the right way or that the economy is excellent, down from approximately three in 10 adults in April.
These declines were most pronounced among Democrats, with only 33 percent of the president's party saying the nation is moving in the right way, compared to 49 percent in April.
The president addressed some of the difficult decisions he has had to make, stating that the U.S. had to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine in February.