In last week’s Omicron speech, President Joe Biden tried to show strong leadership by saying he’d make 500 million at-home tests available for free to all who wanted one. But it turns out his people haven’t even finalized the contracts yet — and, in fact, he’s been promising more tests all year.
New York Times reporters, to their credit, exposed the no-contracts-yet issue within a day of his speech, flagging that nothing would be available before New Year’s, let alone Christmas. Heck, the Web site to order them won’t even launch until January (at the earliest).
Which left Biden flubbering when ABC’s David Muir asked about it in what the prez surely hoped would be a softball interview Wednesday.
“You could argue that we should have known a year ago, six months ago, two months ago, a month ago,” the president said. “I wish I had thought about ordering 500 million at-home tests two months ago.”
Never mind the contradictions where Biden sometimes claims he predicted the crisis a month ago, and sometimes says no one could’ve then (even though lots of public-health experts started sounding the alarms when Omicron first hit in South Africa).
The bigger problem is that Biden already vowed to order 300 million rapid tests three months ago, in his big speech on the Delta wave.
In fact, his “more tests” promises began soon after he took office.
- Back in January, the new prez promised to “aggressively speed up” his administration’s COVID response, especially on “vaccines and testing.”
- On Feb. 17, he vowed to “improve the availability of tests.”
- On March 11, he said “We continue to work on making at-home testing available.”
- July 6, he bragged, “We’re going to deploy things like testing to expand detection of the virus.”
In reality, Team Biden plainly figured all it really needed to do was keep getting jabs into arms. Because, lo, in his nationally televised Sept. 9 speech, the prez said he would “use the Defense Production Act to increase production of rapid tests,” ensure drugstore retailers “sell at-home rapid test kits,” and “purchase nearly 300 million rapid tests for distribution . . . so that every American, no matter their income, can access free and convenient tests.”
And it doesn’t end there.
- On Dec. 2, he told the nation, “This winter, we are going to make free at-home tests more available to Americans than ever before,” mainly by ordering health insurers to pay for it. Which, of course, didn’t guarantee there’d be tests available.
Oops: There he was Tuesday, telling the nation that Omicron “means we need more testing. . . .And on that score, we are [not] where we should be.” Then he said the feds (i.e., the tapayers) would buy those 500 million at-home rapid tests and send them out for free.
It’s bad enough that this president acts as if saying he’ll do something is the same as doing it, when action won’t actually follow for months — as with the mandate for employers to require vaccinations of employees, which he also announced Sept. 9 though the order didn’t even go out for two months, wouldn’t kick in ’til early January and is still tied up in the courts.
Far worse that Biden keeps promising essentially the same thing when it comes to tests, fails to deliver and then offers fresh vows as if the prior ones had never passed his lips. Does he think the American people are that forgetful, or that stupid?