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Wednesday, December 7, 2022

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Karine Jean-Pierre Can’t Get Narrative Straight on Biden’s ’60 Minutes’ COVID Answer

CBS aired their “60 Minutes” interview with President Joe Biden, prompting considerable walk back from the administration on many of his remarks. This includes the president’s claims that “the pandemic is over,” a line he even repeated. While he did mention that “we still have a problem with COVID” and “we’re still doing a lotta work on it,” it was a glossed over point. “Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape,” he even said.

During Tuesday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre had a different emphasis from the president, though. She even claimed that “the president… was very clear in his ’60 Minutes’ interview that COVID remains a problem and we’re fighting it.” 

What most people heard, though, and some even criticized, as Leah highlighted, is that “the pandemic is over.”

Jean-Pierre, as she has done on many other issues, especially lately and as it pertains to the crisis at the border, also focused on blaming the Trump administration. As she touted how what the president “believes is we can acknowledge that — the massive amount of progress that we have made,” she also claimed “this once-in-a-generation pandemic was mismanaged by the last administration.”

The press secretary also focused on the vaccine, failing to mention that the vaccine was developed under the Trump administration, as part of Operation Warp Speed, and that he was even able to get vaccinated before taking office. 

She then went on to demand more funding to “be prepared for the next generation of vaccines and treatments” and even “for the next potential pandemic.” Jean-Pierre ended her response with another common tactic of hers and this administration, which is to demonize Republican opponents. 

“So, ultimately, if we lose these things, we have to ask them — we have to ask Republicans why didn’t they act. And so, that is how we’re going to continue to move forward on this. We believe this COVID funding is incredibly important for how we move into the future in fighting pandemics,” Jean-Pierre said before taking another question. 

While the pandemic may be “over,” the narrative appears to be to prepare for the next one for them to mismanage. Whatever it takes to get more money from Congress. 

Several other reactions included not just from Democrats who were forced to walk back Biden’s remarks, as Jean-Pierre did, but also to call for an end to cruel vaccine mandates, including those imposed on military members. 

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