President Joe Biden may have said the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but he did not really mean that it’s over.
At least, that’s what we’re being told by White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.
During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday, Jean-Pierre was asked about the pushback to Biden’s claim that the pandemic is over.
She responded, “Just to step back for a second, what we saw during that ’60 Minutes’ interview when he made those comments, he was walking through the Detroit car show, the halls of the Detroit car show, and he was looking around.”
“We have to remember that the last time they held that event was three years ago. Even as we’re talking about [the United Nations General Assembly], the president is going to speak shortly, as I just mentioned, that hasn’t been held in person for about three years as well. So we are in a different time. He’s been very consistent about that,” she continued.
Jean-Pierre argued that the country knows “how to deal with this pandemic” and it is “more manageable.”
“We have to continue to have a front foot on this, so we have the funding so that we are ahead of any other…as we look at future vaccines, future treatments, we need to make sure that we are ready for that,” she added.
Watch the video below:
WH @PressSec says Biden didn't actually mean the Covid pandemic is over despite saying it: "Just to step back for a second, when he made those comments, he was walking through the Detroit car show, the halls of the Detroit car show, he was looking around." pic.twitter.com/JUMzkkA1P8
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) September 21, 2022
Biden was just “looking around” when he said the pandemic is over?
That’s not a great answer.
It would have been better if she had said that Biden was “looking around” and thinks that the American people believe the pandemic is over. But that’s not what she said.
The fact that the White House now has spent roughly three days trying to clean up and explain Biden’s comments is not a good sign for them.
It creates questions about why the White House has to keep correcting his statements, and it raises questions about whether what appear to be policy decisions will actually stick.
And it creates the perception that Biden has policy views he wants to express, and then once he does some group of staffers rushes to tell him, “No! We can’t do that!” And then the President of the United States, who sets policy, says, “Ok, if you say so.”
Perhaps it really is the case that the president is just that loose with his speaking. But he did not say during the interview that the pandemic is in a different phase or a “different time” or more manageable.
This is just another example of why Democrats must have been quietly holding their breath when Biden started holding public events after August. While Biden was relatively quiet for much of August, Democrats saw an uptick in polling.
But now that he is out front again, we are getting headlines and stories that seem to suggest some level of dysfunction in the White House as Biden says one thing and aides quickly have to clean it up again. And that, along with the renewed focus on immigration, are distracting from topics that Democrats would like to hammer home before the midterm elections.
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