Want to make a pandemic disappear? It’s easy. Just change the occupant of the White House from a hated, reviled president that the collective American media wanted to see defeated for re-election and replace him with someone more to their liking.
Joe Biden’s press conference on Thursday was notable for what questions weren’t asked. In fact, there were no inquiries from those who supposedly hold our national leaders accountable about the most important issue of this generation, the coronavirus pandemic that has taken more than half a million American lives.
The pandemic was apparently only important when those lives were being lost under Donald Trump and not Joe Biden.
The absence of the issue from the news conference illustrates the degree to which a host of other challenges have begun to dominate Biden’s time in office: a surge of migrants crossing the southern border, back-to-back mass shootings and efforts to restrict voting in Republican state houses.
Some Democrats were incensed that Covid never came up. But others, including Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, publicly pushed the notion that the lack of discussion was merely a reflection of Biden’s discipline in handling the pandemic. The president and his team have set expectations low and routinely cleared them, all the while trying to create a deliberate contrast with the chaos that defined the four years of Donald Trump’s presidency.
The Biden administration is coasting on the pandemic. If anyone cares to notice, there’s still no “national plan” to deal with the pandemic from this White House. They’re just sitting back and reaping the political goodwill from policies that Trump put in place.
And that includes a vaccine rollout and distribution that has seen more than 100 million people vaccinated in a matter of a few months, a truly remarkable achievement that Joe Biden had absolutely nothing to do with.
Maybe that’s why the media didn’t ask any questions about the pandemic.
During Trump’s last year in office, the pandemic dominated his interactions with the media. Biden had argued at the time that Trump had forfeited his right to be president because he failed to take coronavirus seriously, mismanaging the response by not quickly dispatching tests, vaccines and supplies across the country.
But two months into office, after Biden had prevailed on his message that he’d handle the pandemic differently than Trump, he received no questions about it or his $1.9 trillion package to address it, or the goal to get all Americans vaccinated for it.
There are still 70,000 positive tests being reported in the United States every day with a 7-day rolling average of close to 60,000. That compares to about 280,000 cases a day at the beginning of January. But the media has decided a couple of whackos with guns shooting innocents and “voter suppression” are more important. And they are allowing the Biden administration to dictate the contours of the debate about the border crisis, largely because of a news blackout at the border.
I bet Trump wishes it was that easy to handle the media. Maybe it’s because the media doesn’t mind being handled.