White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to distance the Biden administration from controversial COVID-19 lockdown measures on Friday, pointing the finger at the Trump administration for implementing them in the first place.
When asked by a reporter about a new study from Johns Hopkins, which showed lockdowns had minimal, if any, positive impact on public health, Psaki inaccurately claimed that President Joe Biden has “not been pro-lockdown” and that it has “not been his agenda.”
“Most of the lockdowns actually happened under the previous president,” she said.
The comment comes as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s Chief Medical Advisor and the most prominent face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, expresses confidence in the likelihood of COVID-19 peaking in February and entering endemic phase soon after.
.@PressSec: “The President has been clear, we’re not pushing lockdowns, we’ve not been pro lockdown. […] Most of the lockdowns actually happened under the previous president. What our objective has been is conveying we have the tools we need to keep our country open.” pic.twitter.com/Yj0z4YdRP2
— The Hill (@thehill) February 4, 2022
Joe Biden repeatedly promoted lockdowns during his 2020 presidential campaign, often calling on then-President Donald Trump to do more to contain the spread of the virus by restricting movement and encouraging people to stay at home.
In August 2020, Joe Biden told ABC’s David Muir in an interview with running mate Kamala Harris that as president he would “do whatever it takes” to stop the spread of the virus, including locking down the economy if it was necessary.
“I would shut it down, I would listen to the scientists,” he said.
In a CNN town hall discussion in September 2020, Biden also appeared to criticize President Donald Trump for not implementing lockdown measures sooner.
“If the president had done his job, had done his job from the beginning, all the people would still be alive. All the people. I’m not making this up. Just look at the data,” he said.
Not only did he use the town hall to criticize Trump for not advocating strongly enough for lockdowns, but he also wrongly claimed that the then-president could have prevented the death of every single person killed by COVID.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.