Since his election, Joe Biden has more or less constantly boasted about what a great job he’s doing with the coronavirus while bashing Donald Trump’s response as disengaged and irresponsible by contrast.
But Biden has not been as energetic as he may like to sound in his rhetoric. At a press briefing Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki begrudgingly made the stunning admission that Biden has not held a single conference call with America’s governors on the pandemic — unlike Trump and Mike Pence, who regularly did so, Breitbart reported.
Governors frustrated with Biden absence
“I’ve heard from a number of governors who are frustrated that they haven’t heard directly from President Biden on these weekly coordinating COVID calls. Why hasn’t he joined those weekly calls?” he asked.
Psaki was characteristically snippy in response, cutting off Wegman with her own demands to know how many governors have complained. She rationalized the issue by saying that Biden had never intended to directly participate in the calls.
“We’ve never conveyed it as a call that would be a part of his agenda, so I’m not sure there’s, like, a big controversy here,” she said.
Biden is represented by Dr. Anthony Fauci and COVID coordinator Jeffrey Zients on the Tuesday calls, which are led by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, RealClear reported. Under Trump, they were led by vice president Mike Pence. Trump was part of 8 of the 40 calls.
Biden disengaged, despite rhetoric
Governors who spoke with RCP said the White House has not been engaged as they would like, and that they were blindsided when the federal government announced a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“They didn’t even pick up the phone, and say, ‘Hey, by the way, you might see this in the news. We’ll explain it on the call,'” said New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R). “Nothing.”
“It’s been a real frustration, I think it’s safe to say, for all 50 governors,” Sununu said.
This comes despite Biden having boasted since his presidential campaign about bringing “science” and a more coordinated national response than he claimed Trump had to the White House. In November, Biden vowed to work “hand in glove” with governors.
While Biden has not been speaking with governors directly, he has used the bully pulpit to shame those who don’t toe the line as “Neanderthals.”