AMAC Exclusive – By Claire Brighn
There is no shortage of issues on which President Biden has failed spectacularly in his first year in office. But on the issue of COVID-19, that failure has come amid a rash of broken promises, lies, and duplicity that is particularly shocking, even for a career politician. Here are seven major promises Biden made and broke as it relates to his COVID response.
- “I will shut down the virus” – October 29, 2020
This was the central promise of Joe Biden’s campaign – that with him in office, he would “shut down the virus, not the economy.” His contention, of course, was that it was the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic that caused it to get out of hand.
Fast forward a little over a year, and more Americans died of COVID in 2021 than 2020—and that’s with the vaccines, therapeutics, and testing infrastructure put in place by the Trump administration. The country now sometimes sees more than 1 million new cases a day, more than four times greater than the daily totals seen at the peak of the first surge in 2020. This does not bode well for Biden, who himself argued that the president is at fault for death and case numbers, saying back on the campaign trail that “200,000 plus have died. 50,000 a day are getting the virus. 1,000 thereabouts are dying…The president should take responsibility.”
Now, however, Biden is striking a different tune, insisting that “there is no federal solution.” But Biden’s defeatist attitude is in many ways in perfect keeping with his administration’s failure to anticipate future variants, innovate, and ramp up production of therapeutics to meet supply demands.
In fact, as cases surge, it’s recently been reported that lifesaving treatments like monoclonal antibodies are now being rationed due to limited supply. Paxlovid, an antiviral pill the FDA authorized two weeks ago, is also being depleted at alarming rates. Had Biden not focused singularly on sweeping mandates but instead followed a dynamic, multi-pronged approach, like the one led by former President Trump, things might be different now.
2. “This winter, you’ll be able to test for free in the comfort of your home and have some peace of mind.” – December 2, 2021.
Nearly one year before made Biden made this promise, he took a swipe at Trump over-testing: “After ten months of the pandemic, we still don’t have enough testing. It’s a travesty.” Ron Klain, Biden’s White House Chief of Staff, also said before taking office that “[Trump] said testing was a state problem…That’s not going to get it done. We need a national approach.”
Now, even Senate Democrats are pressing the Biden administration about the testing shortage gripping the nation. Not only are take-home tests increasingly hard to find, but even designated testing centers are running low amid the Omicron surge.
Biden’s testing failure is made even more egregious by the fact that it has since been reported that he had the opportunity to accept but ultimately rejected a proposal in the fall to ramp up manufacturing capacity for 732 million at-home tests per month. Moreover, as test prices rise elsewhere, it is not true that all at-home rapid tests would be “free,” like Biden said.
To top it all off, the White House’s promised testing website is still not up, and the contract to order more tests is not finalized. After talking a big game throughout the 2020 campaign and in the final months of 2021, many Americans may now rightly be left wondering if the Biden administration is doing anything on testing.
3. “I don’t think [vaccine mandates] should be mandatory.” – December 4, 2020.
Biden broke his promise on vaccine mandates when he announced just such a mandate in September that would affect more than 100 million Americans. Although the Supreme Court recently struck down the administration’s mandate for private companies with more than 100 workers, it allowed the mandate for healthcare workers to stand.
Now, as hospitalizations spike, there are widespread medical staffing shortages, largely due to terminations or resignations over the mandate. As many COVID patients are now being turned away, it’s worth revisiting the warning of American Hospital Association President and CEO Rick Pollack back in September after Biden announced his mandate: “As a practical matter, this policy may result in exacerbating the severe workforce shortage problems that currently exist.”
The Trump administration also warned that across-the-board shutdowns, mandates, and restrictions would “inflict more harm on the American people and United States economy than they would prevent.”
4. “I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m not going to shut down the country” – October 29, 2020
There are myriad reasons for the struggling economy – inflation and Biden’s war on American energy, just to name a couple. But one cause that can’t be ignored is the Biden administration’s COVID policies that have directly and predictably hampered the country’s economic recovery.
For example, in a House Committee hearing back in November 2021, Isabella Guzman, Biden’s Administrator for the Small Business Administration, admitted before a House Committee that her agency had not conducted any sort of financial impact study on how the vaccine mandate would affect small businesses. Someone else did the math for them: the mandate puts 45 million jobs at risk and would require businesses to spend at least $1.29 billion in compliance costs.
The Biden administration has also sought to continue indefinitely the expanded unemployment benefits and government handouts implemented during the worst of the shutdowns, a direct disincentive for people to return to work. The results of these policies have been devastating. The U.S. economy added just 199,000 jobs in December—less than half of what economists predicted, making it the worst jobs report of the year.
5. “I promise you this: A Biden Administration will listen to scientists and heed their advice – not silence them.” – May 21, 2020
From day one, the Biden administration has done the exact opposite of listening to the experts – or, when they have listened, it hasn’t been to “experts” on the pandemic.
Take, for example, the issue of masks in schools. At a town hall back in July, Biden said that children under 12 must wear masks in school even though there is little evidence to back this up – contrary to his promise for “evidence-based” guidance. The move appeared to be motivated by a desire to appease powerful teachers’ unions – Biden CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has even admitted to changing guidance to ensure teachers unions have “what they need” to move forward.
Biden then pushed access to a booster shot, despite opposition and even anger from many doctors and epidemiologists. The CDC even overrode the FDA advisory committee that voted 16-2 against boosters. The move appeared to be in response to mounting political pressure as cases continued to rise.
As mentioned above, Biden also didn’t listen to hospital directors who said that vaccine mandates would worsen staffing shortages. In short, it increasingly appears as if there might be a caveat to Biden’s promise – he will follow the science, as long as it doesn’t endanger him politically.
6. “I would insist China allow our scientists in to make a hard determination of how it started, where it’s from, how far along it is.” – February 26, 2020
A series of decisions prevented this from happening. One was to resume funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) after Trump had cut it off—even though China has significant power and influence over the WHO, using it to advance their interests and block foreign access to information. Biden didn’t even get any concessions from the WHO when he reentered. And when Biden later ordered an intelligence report on the origins of coronavirus, it was no surprise his administration came back saying China has “not been transparent.” Biden didn’t do much about it, telling a reporter, “I have not had a conversation with President Xi.” When he received the inconclusive intelligence report later in August, his response was only to “press the PRC to fully share information and to cooperate with the World Health Organization’s Phase II evidence-based, expert-led determination into the origins of COVID-19 – including by providing access to all relevant data and evidence” – a recycled solution which will, for obvious reasons, likely never get to the bottom of COVID origins.
Biden also made clear that he had no interest in holding China accountable when he retained Dr. Fauci as his spokesman for the pandemic response. In July 2021, over a year after the coronavirus arrived at American shores, Judicial Watch released a trove of Fauci’s emails – 301 pages – showing he wasn’t square with President Trump or the American people at the outset of the virus about his dealings with an NIH-funded lab in Wuhan, China that was performing gain-of-function tests at the time. After his emails were released and Fauci came under fire, Jen Psaki, Biden’s Press Secretary, doubled down and maintained that he was an “undeniable asset” to the Biden Administration.
7. “I’m going to ask the public for 100 days to mask. Just 100 days to mask. Not forever” – December 3, 2020
In May 2021, Biden finally announced that if “you’re fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.” But now mask mandates have returned and have no end in sight, with Biden extending them for travelers into at least March of 2022, and Dr. Fauci, asked when vaccinated Americans can go maskless indoors, saying it’s “tough to predict that.”
Biden’s mask madness is made even worse by the blatant hypocrisy and at times absurdity of elected Democrats over the issue. Almost a year ago, for example, on the very day Biden signed an executive order requiring masks on federal property, he was seen maskless on federal property. Months later, he then bizarrely wore a face mask outdoors… to announce face masks were no longer required outdoors.
In short, COVID deception and dishonesty has reigned supreme under the Biden administration. Understandably, Americans are none too pleased to be the playthings of Biden’s arbitrary rules and control, and as much is reflected in the president’s dismal poll numbers. While voters may have to wait a few years to show Biden directly just how strongly they feel about his COVID failures, this fall, they will have an opportunity to make their thoughts clear to his colleagues in Congress.
Claire Brighn is the pen name of a conservative researcher and writer with previous domestic and foreign policy experience in the Executive Branch.
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