President Joe Biden made a rather out-of-character admission on Monday, December 27, during a phone call with the National Governors Association about how to fight the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the call moved from congratulatory backslapping to concrete realities, Biden acknowledged that there is no one federal solution to stopping the spread of COVID-19 and that state governments are the primary entity responsible for dealing with the issue. Indeed, the statement was a notable departure from his typical approach to addressing the virus. But it raised an important question: Is this an authentic change of heart, or did he just wander aimlessly off script for a minute?
Biden Touts COVID Federalism?
During the meeting, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson cautioned the president against imposing federal measures that might make it more difficult for states to put solutions into place. “One word of concern or encouragement for your team is that as you look towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure that we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions,” Hutchinson offered. “The production of 500 million rapid tests that will be distributed by the federal government is great, but obviously, that dries up the supply chain for the solutions that we might offer as governor.”
Biden responded, “There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level.” The president continued, noting that it “ultimately gets down to where the rubber meets the road and that’s where the patient is in need of help, or preventing the need for help … My message to the governors is simple: If you need something, say something — and we — we’re going to have your back in any way we can.”
But, Wait a Minute…
Biden’s remarks sound well and good to those who understand how the Republic is supposed to work. States should take the lead in addressing situations like COVID-19. But his comments might make one wonder if the president has forgotten what he has been up to over the past year, because his actions do not match his words.
Under Biden, the federal government has taken center stage in the quest to shield the public from the coronavirus and subsequent Delta and Omicron variants. Fox News reported:
“The Education Department opened civil rights probes into several states for banning school mask mandates. The president continues to mandate masks in airports, airplanes and on public transportation – and his administration increased fines for those who don’t comply.
“And the administration is currently going to the Supreme Court to defend its vaccine mandate for any private businesses with more than 100 employees.”
While the White House has had a hard time enforcing its vaccine mandate due to numerous challenges in the courts, it is abundantly clear that this president is gung-ho about wielding the power of the federal government against the virus even if it means overriding state power.
Recently, the Biden administration used the emergence of the Omicron variant as an excuse to extend mask mandates in airports and on airplanes to March 2022, even though the CEOs of American Airlines and Southwest Airlines explained during testimony before Congress that it is not necessary.
Operation Save Joe Biden from Himself
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Fourth Estate was quick to explain away the president’s statement by insisting that he meant the “next stage” in the COVID-19 battle would be fought at state level. However, the commander-in-chief’s own words did not reflect such a supposition.
Judging from his actions, it seems clear that Biden is not turning over a new leaf, so to speak. It sounds more like he temporarily forgot how big a fan he is of overreaching. But don’t worry. Once again, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will no doubt take to the stage to “clarify” the president’s statements into an acceptable format.
~ Read more from Jeff Charles.
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