Ghoulish WH Reporters Demand Biden, Psaki Claim Abbott, DeSantis Are Spreading COVID


The White House press corps continued into Tuesday its strategy to turn their guns toward Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) as, over the course of a press briefing and presidential press conference, numerous reporters urged President Biden and Press Secretary Jen Psaki to declare that DeSantis and fellow Governor Greg Abbott (R-TX) were sickening their own citizens with the coronavirus due to their refusal to reimplement restrictions.

CBS’s Nancy Cordes broke the ice by telling Psaki that DeSantis “is taking a very different approach than New York” in not requiring vaccination to enter indoor places as the Sunshine State “hit another record today of Covid cases, and yet he’s pushing back on local municipalities that are trying to impose new mask mandates and other means of keeping people protected.”

 

 

“Does the White House have any reaction to Governor DeSantis and particularly to his point that this is just seasonal in Florida because people are hot, so they’re staying indoors and transmitting the [virus],” she asked.

Explaining that “we’re all in this fight together,” Psaki argued DeSantis should “get out of the way and let people do the right thing to lead” if he won’t “abide by public health guidance.”

A little later, MSNBC/NBC correspondent Mike Memoli reminded us of why he’s a tool of the left, remarking that Biden and DeSantis seemed so friendly when the former visited the latter at the Surfside condominium collapse before wondering if it would be possible Biden to get DeSantis straightened out on Covid.

When Psaki didn’t give a fiery answer, Memoli openly suggested DeSantis was deliberately sickening Floridians with the virus (click “expand”):

MEMOLI: He has shied away from calling out, for instance, social media companies for their roles and spread of this disinformation, for instance. Um, is he — does he feel that Governor DeSantis bears responsibility for a situation with regard to hospitalizations that is an outlier compared to the rest of the country?

PSAKI: I think you’ll hear him talk this afternoon about where he’s seeing the biggest challenges in the country, but I think any call we make we do through the prism of what we think is going to result in action and results in a positive outcome, and there — calling out social media companies and the fact that they can take additional steps is one thing, but we certainly are still open to working with governors of all political stripes to help address the pandemic and our objective and our hope would be to work in partnership and not get into a food fight.

Another reporter in the room came off as inspired by this exchange as he was even more blunt in adding Abbott to the equation.

The reporter first admonished Psaki and other reporters for “dancing around an issue here” and then dropped his grotesque query:

[H]ow much are Governors DeSantis and Abbott feel responsible for what is happening right now, given that 50 million people within the two states that are, I think, Jeff said yesterday, one third of all infections last week were there? So, how much personal responsibility do they — do they bear?

Psaki refused to push back. Instead, she said those two governors will “have to make a decision on whether or not they’re going to abide by public health guidelines” or play “politics.”

Fast-forward to Biden’s presser and NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell posed that same question: “[D]o you believe that Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott are personally making decisions that are harming their own citizens?”

Biden agreed, ruling that “the results of their decisions are not good for their constituents” and not based on solid “healthy policy.”

At the other end of the Covid spectrum, Reuters’s Trevor Hunnicutt lobbed an eye-roll of a question earlier in the briefing when he lobbied for new lockdowns and suggested not doing so would be playing “politics” because they were “used successfully to help places like New York City when they had hospital capacity issues.”

Ah, yes. Lockdowns really helped do the trick in New York in the same way that the nursing home order flattened the curve.

How pathetic.

To see the relevant August 3 transcript, click “expand.”

White House press briefing
August 3, 2021
2:25 p.m. Eastern

NANCY CORDES: Sticking with the same topic, Governor DeSantis in Florida is taking a very different approach than New York is. Florida just hit another record today of Covid cases, and yet he’s pushing back on local municipalities that are trying to impose new mask mandates and other means of keeping people protected. Does the White House have any reaction to Governor DeSantis and particularly to his point that this is just seasonal in Florida because people are hot, so they’re staying indoors and transmitting the vaccine?

JEN PSAKI: Well, the data just doesn’t back that up. I would say, first, it’s — Florida is not the only state. Seven states have both a statewide ban on mask mandates and a prohibition on school districts from requiring masks in schools, and some states have even banned businesses and universities from requiring workers and students to be vaccinated, In fact, the most extreme of these measures is in Texas, where you can be fined — a professor or a teacher can be fined if they ask a student if they are vaccinated or if they ask unvaccinated students to wear masks. And I think the fundamental question we have is: What are we doing here? And the President — you’ll hear the President talk a little bit about this later this afternoon. His message is going to be we’re all in this fight together, whether it’s Democratic or Republican governor and I will note most Republican governors are doing exactly the right thing and — and doing and advocating for and taking steps to advocate for more people to get vaccinated. But if you aren’t going to help, if you aren’t going to abide by public health guidance, then get out of the way and let people do the right thing to lead in their communities, whether they are teachers, university leaders, private sector leaders or others who are trying to save lives.

CORDES: And beyond sending messages like the President will do later today, what is the administration doing to actually communicate or work directly with some of these state officials?

(….)

2:29 p.m. Eastern

TREVOR HUNNICUTT: The President has ruled out additional shutdowns related to Covid-19, and I’m just curious because that was an intervention that was used successfully to help places like New York City when they had hospital capacity issues. Now, we see hospitalization rates at their highest level since February? Why would you — why would the White House — why would the President rule that out and is that consistent with your commitment to be led by science rather than politics? 

PSAKI: Well, I would say it’s not just the President. One, he continues to be guided by science. Dr Fauci and Dr Collins also made similar comments this weekend and the larger point they were making is we’re in a very different place now than we were last January. A — the Delta variant is the most transmissible. We are seeing rising case numbers and in a specific about a handful of states, about half a dozen states across the country. I will note since we were just talking about Florida and this statistic really struck me, so let me share it with all of you can find it here. One second. Sorry, um, that approximately 50,000 of the — 50 percent of the 50,000 hospitalizations in the country came from just four states with Florida being nearly a quarter of those, so that’s relevant because what we’re seeing is rises in a set number of states. That’s one of the reasons why this surge capacity could certainly help in specific states and communities where they need help. What — what we have ruled out is a across the board federal vaccine mandate. We are now at a point where more than 165 million people are fully vaccinated. It’s 70 percent of adults have gotten at least one shot. That is a different place than we were six months ago, so I think that that is a reflection of the science and medical experts conveying we’ve made enough progress. That’s not — not a step they believe we would need from a public health perspective.

(….)

2:51 p.m. Eastern

MIKE MEMOLI: Thanks, Jen. It was just a little over a month ago that the President traveled down to Surfside. He actually sat side-by-side with Governor DeSantis. They both praised one another for their respective handling of the disaster situation there. I’m wondering if there has been any further direct communication between the President and the governor, and might the President consider speaking with the governor specifically about what we’re seeing in terms of the horizon, hospitalizations and developing situation with Covid down there.

PSAKI: Well, if it we thought it would make a difference. I’m sure he would. But I would say that the President feels you can praise leaders for taking, uh, some steps as he did and that scenario with that tragedy at Surfside, where many people’s lives were lost. Many families were suffering while, at the same time, expressing concern about their handling of a pandemic, which is what we’re doing in this regard, but I don’t have any expectation or prediction of a call between them.

MEMOLI: He has shied away from calling out, for instance, social media companies for their roles and spread of this disinformation, for instance. Um, is he — does he feel that Governor DeSantis bears responsibility for a situation with regard to hospitalizations that is an outlier compared to the rest of the country?

PSAKI: I think you’ll hear him talk this afternoon about where he’s seeing the biggest challenges in the country, but I think any call we make we do through the prism of what we think is going to result in action and results in a positive outcome, and there — calling out social media companies and the fact that they can take additional steps is one thing, but we certainly are still open to working with governors of all political stripes to help address the pandemic and our objective and our hope would be to work in partnership and not get into a food fight.

(….)

2:58 p.m. Eastern

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: It feels like we are dancing around an issue here, which is how much are Governors DeSantis and Abbott feel responsible for what is happening right now, given that 50 million people within the two states that are, I think, Jeff said yesterday, one third of all infections last week were there? So, how much personal responsibility do they — do they bear?

PSAKI: Well, I’m certainly not trying to dance in any way. I think what I said yesterday was that at a point in every leader’s life, they have to make a decision on whether or not they’re going to abide by public health guidelines to save people’s lives or whether they’re going to be guided by politics. And I will let you all be the judge of that. Public health guidelines are pretty clear as it relates to the benefit of vaccination, as it relates to the benefit of masking for communities that are not vaccinated. And you will hear the President convey later, if you are not going to be part of the solution, if you’re not going to be part of saving people’s lives, then get out of the way, and let other people do the job. 

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #2: What do you mean by get out of the way? 

PSAKI: That means don’t ban, don’t make it harder for people to put requirements on masks or asking for vaccination status into law.

(….)

4:50 p.m. Eastern

KELLY O’DONNELL: Mr. President, do you believe that Governor Desantis and Governor Abbott are personally making decisions that are harming their own citizens? 

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I believe the results of their decisions are not good for their constituents and it’s clear to me and to most of the medical experts that the decisions being made like not allowing mask mandates in the schools and the like are bad health policy. Bad health policy.



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