Appearing on his six-month anniversary as president, Joe Biden took to the stage in Cincinnati as part of a CNN town hall event. The show was widely expected to be an opportunity for Biden to tout his successes of the last half-year; instead, it was something else entirely. From semi-coherent answers to outright falsehoods, the commander in chief stumbled his way through softball questions with answers that even the CNN panel appeared mortified to hear.
In light of the White House’s recent call to action to silence those who spread misinformation, many pundits may be wondering if Joe Biden is about to be hoisted on his own petard.
As the president sought to allay the fears of one local educator over the lack of COVID-19 vaccinations for children under the age of 12, he said, “you’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.” This claim appears to contradict the government’s own data, however. As of April 30, more than 10,000 breakthrough cases – people contracting COVID who have already been vaccinated – were reported to the CDC. With Biden passing along such verifiable misinformation, perhaps the White House should ask social media to start flagging his statements?
He further pressed his case, saying, “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die.” Even CNN’s Anderson Cooper joined the fact-checking bandwagon, saying this was “just obviously not the case.”
With this wilful spreading of misinformation regarding the coronavirus vaccines, it would be fair to wonder whether the president believes he himself should also face sanctions in terms of his ability to spread verifiably false statements. Or is it merely one rule for the administration and another for the rest of the nation?
Jobs Gone Wrong
While discussing the much-lauded job recovery, President Biden boasted that “We’ve created more jobs in the first six months of our administration than any time in American history. No president, no administration, has ever created as many jobs.” This is a claim he has made multiple times to camera and through social media. However, it appears to be both false and misleading.
First, the population of the United States is larger than at any time in the past – having increased by more than 100 million people since the late 1970s. When compared as a percentage of the workforce, however, Biden can claim a 2.1% jobs rise in the last six months. President Jimmy Carter oversaw a 2.2% growth. Also, many of the added positions can be attributed to the losses from the pandemic shutdown returning to the market. Despite the admittedly positive growth, the economy is still short by almost seven million jobs from its pre-pandemic numbers.
Naturally, the president was keen to turn unrelated questions into opportunities to advertize his successes so far. While discussing why host Don Lemon had had little contact with his family during the pandemic lockdowns, Joe Biden changed course, saying, “by the way, remember when I first got elected, the issue was, when I said I was going to do a million shots a week, and people said, ‘Biden can’t do that,’ or, ‘the Biden team can’t do that?’” In fact, when Biden assumed office, vaccination rates were running at almost one million per day already, and the idea that such a target could not be reached was virtually non-existent.
This town hall was supposed to be a celebration of Joe Biden and his presidency; instead, it was a stark reminder that the “Big Guy” has a long and storied history of being loose with the truth, boastful, and reactionary when threatened. Oddly enough, all qualities that the Fourth Estate once applied to President Donald Trump.
Read more from Mark Angelides.