‘No federal solution’ for pandemic, Biden concedes — Analysis
No longer vowing to ‘shut down’ Covid-19, the president says states will need to solve the crisis on their own
President Joe Biden has apparently backed down from his pre-election pledge to stop Covid-19 in its tracks, telling governors that it’s up to state governments to end the pandemic.
“There is no federal solution,”Biden made the remarks Monday via teleconference to governors. “This gets solved at the state level.”
The statement was in stark contrast to Biden’s bold pledge in October 2020, just four days before the presidential election, to stop the pandemic. “I’m not going to shut down the country,”He said it at that time. “I’m not going to shut down the economy. I’m going to shut down the virus.”During his campaign visits, he repeated the promise to all of them.
Setting high expectations for stopping the spread of Covid-19 was a linchpin of Biden’s presidential campaign. He hammered then-President Donald Trump for alleged failures in dealing with the virus, going so far as to say that his Republican rival was to blame for all of America’s Covid-19 deaths.
“Anyone who’s responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States of America,”Biden stated this in his last debate against Trump.
The virus was responsible for 220,000 deaths in the United States. Trump’s January departure brought the death toll to nearly 400,000. But even with Covid-19 vaccines being available throughout this year after starting to trickle out in mid-December 2020, Americans are dying at a faster pace on Biden’s watch. The toll currently stands at about 815,000, meaning the US has had 415,000 Covid-19 deaths during Biden’s 11 months on the job.
Biden’s statement on Monday regarding the crucial role of states in fighting the virus came in response to a comment by Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, who suggested that some federal initiatives could undermine state efforts to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. Hutchinson gave the example of the Biden administration’s plan to distribute 500 million test kits, which, he said, “dries up the supply chain for the solutions that we might offer as governor.”
Biden replied, “Ultimately, it 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.”He encouraged governors to request any assistance they might need. “and we’re going to have your back in any way we can.”