With the impending threat of the new Omicron variant, Joe Biden is being called out by a surprisingly left-wing media source for being “premature” in declaring “victory” over COVID-19.
The normally Biden-Friendly NBC Network’s Chuck Todd challenged Biden for how he’s handled the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in light of the new omicron variant that has prompted the White House to ban travel from several African countries, beginning November 29.
Todd, host of “Meet the Press,” suggested that omicron, from which most cases were discovered in southern Africa, was not just a health problem. It’s a political one as well for the current administration, he argued, flashing back to when Biden “prematurely” declared a sort of victory over the virus on July 4.
“Ultimately, this is also a political problem,” Todd said Sunday. “Biden ran on taming the pandemic, and he prematurely declared independence from the virus back in July.”
Biden announced that the US had achieved the “upper hand” against the coronavirus from the South Lawn of the White House in July 2021. But within days of his speech, the highly contagious delta variant spread through the country and led to hundreds of thousands more infections. More Americans were found to have died from the disease in 2021 than in 2020, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Todd said more of the same earlier on NBC’s “Sunday Today,” telling host Willie Geist that it seemed Biden has not been properly leading in the battle against the virus.
“One of the things about his COVID response, over the last couple of months, it can be argued he has not been the face of the COVID response, not in some time,” Todd said. “Not really since back in July, when he declared our independence from the virus, obviously prematurely.”
Meanwhile, on Monday, November 29, the day after the comments made by Todd, Biden said at a Press Conference that the new omicron coronavirus variant is “a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” as federal health officials brace for the first cases of the new variant to be detected in the US.
“Sooner or later, we’re going to see cases of this new variant here in the United States. We’ll have to face this new threat just as we face those who have come before it,” Biden said, speaking from the White House.
The President noted scientists and officials are learning more every day about the new variant. He said the new travel restrictions his administration put in place, which went into effect Monday and restricted travel from several countries in Southern Africa, gives the US more time to respond.