President Biden devoted his first primetime address of his presidency Thursday evening by taking several shots at former President Donald Trump, while setting new goals for all adults to be eligible for the vaccine by May 1 so Americans will be able to return closer to normal by Independence Day, but he threatened to reimpose COVID lockdown restrictions if the public fails to follow the science and guidance.
Speaking in the White House East Room, Biden began by his 24-minute teleprompter address to implicitly criticize without mentioning him by name and playing the blame game in pinning the past year on Trump for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic while claiming credit for the COVID vaccine rollout and distribution.
“A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked. Denials for days, weeks, and months. That led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness. Photos and videos from 2019 feel like they were taken in another era,” Biden said.
Biden gave another dig at his predecessor and Republican governors who happen to also be close allies of Trump over the issue of mask-wearing and the recent decision by red states who lifted their coronavirus restrictions, including mask mandates.
“A mask, the easiest thing to do to save lives. Sometimes it divides us. States pitted against one another instead of working with each other,” Biden noted.
Trump’s refusal to wear a mask during the height of the pandemic was widely criticized by the liberal mainstream media who decried his personal decision. It was an issue Biden used during the 2020 campaign to highlight the importance of wearing one as well as “listening to the science” as the only way he proclaimed would defeat the virus.
The president also took an apparent shot at Trump’s Operation Warp Speed effort, by falsely claiming that when he entered office there were not “nearly enough” vaccines available, while at the same time taking full credit for his administration progress toward an ambitious goal of having “enough vaccine supply for all adults in America by the end of May.”
“Two months ago, this country didn’t have nearly enough vaccine supply to vaccinate all or ever near all of the American public, but soon we will,” Biden said.
Biden noted that when he entered office “50 days ago,” only “eight percent of Americans over the age of 65” and “just 14 percent over the age of 75” had received their first shot, bragging the contrast of numbers seen today that have jumped nearly five to eight times higher of those being inoculated.
However, Biden failed to mention that vaccine distribution began almost a month before he took office on Dec. 14. In that one month alone, more than 55 million vaccine doses have been administered, reaching 11.5 percent of the total U.S. population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The former president hasn’t yet responded to the primetime remarks. But just a day prior, Trump slammed Biden for trying to take credit for vaccine distribution efforts earlier during an event with Johnson & Johnson, reminding him and everyone that under his administration Operation Warp Speed, it led to the creation of the “China Virus” vaccine in record time.
“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all,” Trump said in a statement. “I hope everyone remembers!”
On Wednesday, Biden announced that his administration with procuring 100 million doses of the single-shot J&J vaccine, to bolster the U.S. to be on “track to have enough vaccine supply for every American adult by end of May,” months ahead than he originally stated schedule of July.
Biden during his remarks reiterated his ambitious timeline he outlined twice this month to announce the next step in directing all states and territories to ensure all adults to be eligible for vaccination by May 1. The new directive includes launching a “new website” to make it easier for people to find vaccination sites and schedule appointments.
The president pleaded with Americans to do “their parts” to get vaccinated, “listen to Dr. Fauci,” and continue following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines that include “wearing the mask” — warning everyone if they don’t “stick with the rules,” the country will go back into lockdown.
“We need everyone to get vaccinated,” Biden said. “Because even if we devote every resource we have, beating this virus and getting back to normal depends on national unity. And national unity isn’t just how politics and politicians vote in Washington and what the loudest voices say on cable or online.”
He added, “Unity is what we do together as fellow Americans, because if we don’t stay vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track. Please, we don’t want to do that again. We’ve made so much progress. This is not the time to let up, just as we were emerging from a dark winter into a hopeful spring and summer is not the time to not stick with the rules.”
Biden set another ambitious goal in his remarks for Americans to mark another date on their calendars — July 4, saying he sees life returning to some semblance of a post-pandemic normal if everything goes according to his plan.
“By July the Fourth there’s a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day,” Biden declared. “That doesn’t mean large events with lots of people together, but it does mean small groups will be able to get together. After this long hard year, it will make this Independence Day something truly special, where we not only mark our independence as a nation, but we begin to mark our independence from this virus.”
The speech came just hours after Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law, calling it an effort focused on “rebuilding the backbone of this country.” However, the monstrosity bill with only 9 percent of the package targeting to fighting the pandemic cost nearly one-tenth the size of the entire U.S. economy. The package adding to the deficits devotes $350 billion in state bailout funds with no strings attached. $130 billion will go for school reopening with no requirements that they reopen to ensure funds and only 5 percent is dedicated to the 2021 fiscal year.
Florida is currently facing a budget of $2 billion shortfall due to declining tourism in 2020. Due to the Sunshine State’s low unemployment rate, it will be punished out from receiving $2 billion under the relief bill’s formula it would otherwise get if aid were allocated based on population. However, the biggest winners will be states who locked down the hardest during the pandemic.
Biden and the White House are planning a celebration public relations blitz state tour in the upcoming weeks to promote his first major legislative victory that Democrats rammed through Congress earlier this week without a single Republican voting for the measure.
After Biden’s address, the Republican National Committee criticized Biden for taking a victory lap on a “$1.9 trillion boondoggle disguised as COVID ‘relief'” and noted that Trump deserves credit for the vaccine creation efforts.