On the question of whether schools should be closed to curb the spread of COVID-19, Joe Biden just found himself backed into a corner.
According to the Washington Examiner, the man who news outlets have declared the president-elect dodged a question Friday about whether he would “encourage” teachers unions to work with schools to put students back in the classroom in light of growing evidence that it’s safe to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield said schools are “one of the safest places” for children to be amid COVID-19, Fox News reported.
Shouting out questions
The next day, Biden was pressed for his stance by CBS’s Bo Erickson.
“Mr. Biden, the COVID task force said it’s safe for students to be in class… Are you going to encourage unions to cooperate more to bring kids back to classroom, sir?” Erickson asked the former VP, according to the Washington Examiner.
Biden responded with a non-answer: “Why are you the only guy that always shouts out questions?”
“I have no response”
Erickson, for his part, was one of the only reporters to ask the former VP about last month’s bombshell New York Post report that appeared to show a connection between Biden and his son Hunter’s overseas business dealings. Erickson received a tongue lashing from the Democrat for his efforts.
“I know you’d ask it,” Joe Biden said at the time, according to the New York Post. “I have no response, it’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask.”
I asked Joe Biden: What is your response to the NYPost story about your son, sir?
He called it a “smear campaign” and then went after me. “I know you’d ask it. I have no response, it’s another smear campaign, right up your alley, those are the questions you always ask.” pic.twitter.com/Eo6VD4TqxD
— Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) October 17, 2020
We need answers
Following Friday’s exchange, Erickson received support from some of his colleagues, including journalist Zaid Jilani, who argued that Erickson “is trying to do journalism” while other members of the press are mere “stenographers,” the Post reported. The Washington Examiner‘s Jerry Dunleavy said it’s “a great question that deserves an answer,” according to Fox News.
Perhaps the reason why Biden deflected is that, as the Washington Examiner‘s Andrew Mark Miller pointed out Saturday, opening schools is fast becoming a losing issue for the Democrats. While many unions have refused to sign off on sending students back to the classroom, studies have found little to no coronavirus-related risks associated with in-school learning. Other research shows that closing schools can result in emotional damage among some children.
While Biden has promised to make reopening schools a “top national priority,” according to Miller, questions about his methodology — and whether he’s taken this recent data into account — remain sadly answered.