Twitter users expressed confusion and outright mockery after the White House walked back President Biden’s assertion that the COVID-19 pandemic is “over.”
Biden made his remarks during his interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes on Sunday, his first interview with an American TV journalist in over 200 days. When asked about the state of the U.S.’s fight against the pandemic, Biden told CBS correspondent Scott Pelley, “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with Covid. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. It’s — but the pandemic is over.”
But according to CNN, an administration official told the outlet that “the President’s comments do not mark a change in policy toward the administration’s handling of the virus, and there are no plans to lift the Public Health Emergency.”
The current emergency status, which had been announced in January 2020, is still extended through Oct. 13.
However, the fact that the White House had to clarify and essentially walk back the president’s claims about the state of the pandemic drew scathing criticism from Biden administration critics, who insisted that this tension between Biden and his staffers may be another hint they do his job for him.
“He is not in charge,” tweeted The Spectator contributing editor Stephen Miller, who also shared an image of the CNN headline that read, “White House says Covid-19 policy unchanged despite Biden’s comments that the ‘pandemic is over.’”
In subsequent tweets, Miller added, “It wasn’t a gaffe. It wasn’t a slip. He said it pretty definitely twice. In the same interview he dared anyone who questioned his mental fitness. Here’s the example. Right here.”
“Biden reportedly complains that he looks weak. This is why. His own administration undercuts him every time he opens his mouth,” he wrote, and then asked, “Is he in charge or not?”
Republican communications figure Matt Whitlock remarked, “Fascinating that the White House walked back Biden’s comments on Taiwan and COVID, but decided to let his comments that ‘historic inflation is no big deal’ stand.”
“Like clockwork. Biden’s handlers are out in force,” commented Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
Claremont Institute communications director Nick Short asked “Who/what is?” in response to the notion that Biden isn’t in charge of his own administration.
“Hint: it will never be ‘over.’ they gained too much from lockdowns, mandates, and wealth transfer. They permanently reorganized the country over a virus. You think they would give that up voluntarily? It’s not going away,” tweeted conservative commentator Logan Hall.
Radio host Derek Hunter mocked Biden, writing, “Didn’t Joe say something about just watch him when asked whether or not he has the mental abilities to be President? One interview, at least two walk-backs by staff (so far). #WatchMe”
Abigail Marone, the press secretary for Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., asked, “Who exactly is running the country here?”
“We have a non-president,” declared Claremont Institute president Ryan P. Williams.