President Joe Biden campaigned on a promise to improve the Trump administration’s supposedly botched COVID-19 response plan.
More than a week into his administration, however, Biden’s messaging on the continuing public health crisis remains confusing at best, and deceptive at worst.
“Nothing we can do”
The president is keeping his communications team busy amid statements regarding containment of the virus, vaccine distribution, and other key aspects of the response, even sparking allegations that he is spreading outright falsehoods.
Biden shocked many Americans on Friday with his dire warning that there is “nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months.”
His admission left many critics with the impression that his administration has no real plan for handling the current spread of COVID-19 in every corner of the nation, but he largely received a pass from the mainstream media.
Whether or not his remarks constituted a blunder or just a convoluted talking point is open to interpretation, but the Biden administration is falling in line behind him.
“We’ve got to pull it up”
“I believe President Biden made it very clear, the plane is in a nosedive and we’ve got to pull it up,” said Xavier Becerra, the president’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Further muddying the waters was Biden’s moonshot vow on Monday in which he appeared to predict that every American who desires a COVID-19 vaccine would be lined up to receive one by the spring.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to play cleanup, asserting: “What the president’s goal is, is ensuring that there’s greater availability in the spring. But the fact is, every American is not going to be eligible in the spring.”
Nevertheless, some of the president’s top staffers are pushing back somewhat against his plan — particularly his promise to deliver 100 million vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky, for example, declared that “we have to go faster.”
For much of the Biden administration, however, the focus appears to remain on trashing the Trump administration. The president has slammed his predecessor for leading a “dismal failure” of a pandemic response, while Chief of Staff Ron Klain parroted a debunked report that the Biden White House was starting from scratch in developing a vaccine distribution program.