Biden nominee tries to clean up president’s ‘nothing we can do’ claim about pandemic trajectory
Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra tried to straighten out the Biden administration’s message on the coronavirus pandemic after President Biden presented a fatalist outlook on the immediate future.
At a Friday news conference, Biden said “there’s nothing we can do to change the trajectory of the pandemic in the next several months,” warning that a lack of action would result in foreclosures and evictions. On Sunday, Becerra indicated that the administration indeed has a plan, but that it will not have immediate results.
“I believe President Biden made it very clear, the plane is in a nosedive, and we gotta pull it up. And you’re not going to do that overnight,” Becerra told “State of the Union” host Dana Bash on CNN. “But we’re gonna pull it up, we have to pull it up. Failure’s not an option here, and so we will.”
Becerra went on to say that Biden’s plan is “a rescue plan that should be followed by a recovery plan.” He said that first the government has to “rescue the people” and the economy.
When asked if that means he believes the administration can indeed change the pandemic’s trajectory, Becerra reiterated that it would not happen “overnight,” but said that progress is possible if people work together.
“We can do better,” he said. “We can not only control Covid but get us back to real normality. But it takes everybody. All hands on deck. We’ve got to make sure we’re coordinated. And we are talking to people. We can’t just tell the states, ‘Here’s some PPE, some masks, here’s some vaccines, now go do it.’ No, no. When we hand them over, we stay with them and provide resources to make it happen.”
Becerra then claimed that the simple act of everyone wearing facemasks would be enough to make an impact.
“If we get people following the president’s guidance of wearing a mask for the first 100 days, we’re going to get control of this thing,” he said.