President Joe Biden is being accused of abandoning the states to COVID-19 over comments he made Monday. While meeting with some state governors, Biden said, “There is no federal solution. This gets solved at a state level.”
He said this after a governor expressed concern that the federal government would get in states’ way.
Some believe that online commenters are taking the quote out of context or blowing it out of proportion.
During the meeting, Biden also said that the federal government would support states’ fight against COVID by buying 500 million rapid COVID tests to be available at no cost, supporting additional vaccination and testing sites, and deploying medical military personnel to assist hospitals.
“My message to the governors is simple: if you need something, say something,” CNBC reports Biden also said. “We’re going to have your back any way we can.”
A clip of Biden’s quote about there being “no federal solution” went viral on Twitter. It’s been viewed 2.5 million times as of this writing.
The clip doesn’t include Biden’s other statements about how the federal government intends to help the states or the question he was asked immediately before.
One person claimed the clip proves that America is a “failed state” because “the government is unable to fulfill basic responsibilities.”
Many worried that relying on states will result in uneven effectiveness addressing the omicron variant that’s sweeping the nation.
Jacobin columnist Ben Burgis opined, “Objectively insane on the level of saying that all 50 states should have their own little space programs or Normandy should have been stormed by the Mississippi National Guard.”
Others had similar reactions.
“What @joebiden is saying to Americans is: you’re own your own. This time around no extended unemployment, no PPP, no housing relief. It’s just survival of the fittest,” tweeted @AliAbunimah.
Many pointed to Biden’s November 2020 tweet that rising COVID cases “demands a robust and immediate federal response.”
“This you?” tweeted @SanaSaeed.
As @mattbc pointed out, Biden comment about relying on the states was a response to Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) expressing concern that “federal solutions” would interfere with states’ efforts to address COVID.
“It seems to me that taking a 4 second clip of @JoeBiden speaking to the Republican governor of Arkansas out of context, context which could reasonably be interpreted as Biden pushing back against the abdication of responsibility by state governors, is a big part of the problem,” @mattbc added.
Some were relieved, but others were unconvinced that the additional context altered the thrust of Biden’s remarks.
“He’s conceded leadership to the states in a national crisis,” replied @DwayneDavidPaul. “He says here that the feds will only add (insufficient) supplies of things like tests.”
COVID diagnoses are on the rise. Experts believe that cases will increase in the coming days, in part due to holiday gatherings.