President Joe Biden will be giving another press conference today, Sept. 9, this time to discuss his 6-part plan to help combat the Delta variant of COVID. New cases of the virus are up by 316% since Labor Day 2020. With just over half of the nation fully vaccinated – far below his goal of 70% by July 4 – and the polls showing his approval numbers dropping rapidly – especially after the Afghanistan debacle – Mr. Biden will be looking for ways to beef up his reputation. So far, White House officials have been pretty mum on the topic. So, what should Americans expect to be revealed?
The School Bell Has Rung
One area, for a certainty, the president will concentrate on is children returning to school for in-person learning and how best to protect them from COVID. That’s a tricky topic. Schools across the nation have been fighting against mask mandates, so the thought of forcing teachers and students to be vaccinated will likely cause much more controversy. A vaccine for children under 12 is not scheduled to be available until winter, at the earliest, and there will be those parents who refuse the juvenile jab – or five – for personal or religious beliefs.
Already, parents have been taking their children out of public schools and either putting them into private or charter establishments or homeschooling them because of the controversial critical race theory curriculum. Forced vaccines will likely drive a lot more children away from traditional public schools. As Liberty Nation’s Caroline Adana wrote:
“In 1973, only 13,000 kids were homeschooled, according to National Home Education Research Institute. As government expenditure, activism, and incompetence steadily grew, ever more parents chose to abandon the failing public schools. In 2019, before the pandemic, the number of homeschoolers had grown to 2.5 million. In 2021, the number is now at a whopping five million. Some have labeled this surge as white supremacy, but the largest percentage growth has been among blacks, Asians, and Latinos.”
According to educationdata.org, the “federal government provides 7.8% of funding for public K-12 education,” about $12,624 per pupil per year. “Public postsecondary schools spend an average of $26,496 per pupil.” As parents continue to pull their children out, the institutions lose money, and with mask mandates and potential vaccine requirements, more families will be seeking education elsewhere.
The president has a tough decision to make. Schools need funding, but Biden is bound and determined to have every American vaccinated. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “We need to continue to take more steps to make sure school districts are prepared and make sure communities across the country are prepared.” Withholding funding to schools that do not enforce masks and jabs is one option, albeit one that could backfire.
No Vaccine, No Entry
Though Psaki said that the administration understands it can’t force Americans to get the shot, there are ways around this. Biden has already mandated that any federal employee who wants to remain employed has to get the jab, and any nursing home that doesn’t require the same risks losing Medicare and Medicaid funding. And there may be more to come. Washington’s King County is looking into how to force privately owned businesses – especially restaurants and bars – in the Greater Seattle area to require proof of vaccination for customers.
Biden could suggest all businesses do this or lose access to federal grants or loan programs. This, of course, will hurt small business owners, who have already been struggling for the past 17 months or so. It would also cause a further divide and contention among the vaccinated and unvaccinated as the latter is vilified and ostracized while the former is praised and rewarded.
The Fauci Fiasco
As Graham J Noble, LN’s chief political correspondent and satirist, recently reported, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the so-called leading expert on COVID and Biden’s chief medical advisor, is facing some comeuppance after the release of new documents suggest he knew all along that the U.S. was providing financial assistance to the Wuhan Lab to study gain of function coronavirus research. This is in direct opposition to what he told Congress and could put the doctor in a lot of hot water.
The question is, will the president address any questions regarding Fauci’s fumbling that are sure to be asked by the media? If we go on past behavior, it is more likely that Biden will turn his back to the crowd and walk away, leaving Psaki to field the tough inquiries. On the other hand, the president may decide to answer pre-determined questions from pre-determined reporters. Either way, the American people are not likely to get any real answers to Fauci’s fiasco.
Improving the Numbers – or Trying to
The president is under pressure to improve his ratings. As reported by LN’s Jeff Charles, a recent Gallup poll showed Biden’s favorable numbers have been dropping. “The survey found that 42% believe the president has not clearly articulated a plan to combat the spread of the virus. However, about 40% agree that he has communicated his administration’s COVID-19 strategy.” With the Delta variant spreading rapidly, Biden may have no choice but to take action.
After the Afghanistan disaster, the commander-in-chief is trying to rebuild his reputation and the trust of the American people. A big part of his presidential campaign relied on how he would get the COVID situation under control, so now he is falling back onto something that worked for him in the past. As political scientist and vice president of academic affairs at New England College, Wayne Lesperance, told Fox News:
“The stakes are very high for President Biden leading into his Thursday COVID speech. In the midst of a flurry of bad news around Afghanistan and surging delta variant cases, the President is returning to an issue that helped him in the 2020 election: COVID-19. It remains to be seen how receptive Americans will be to his going back to the well. But, at a time when schoolchildren are heading back to classes, there’s no doubt an opportunity for real leadership.”
Biden is walking a very thin tightrope, and today’s press conference will show just how far he’s willing to go to remain the big man in charge and try to regain some of his lost popularity. But will it be enough – or will his big reveal cause even more discord?
Read more from Kelli Ballard.