White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed on Friday that President Joe Biden had never been “pro-lockdown” and insisted that his administration was focused purely on pushing all the “tools” the United States has its disposal to fight COVID-19. She also stated most of the lockdowns occurred under the “previous president,” meaning former President Donald J. Trump.
During the daily press briefing, a reporter asked for comment regarding a recent working paper by Johns Hopkins University that found lockdowns had “little to no effect on public health” during the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday, The Daily Wire reported on the paper’s findings:
The study, published by the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise conducted and by three professors from around the world, also found that lockdowns “imposed enormous economic and social costs” and are “ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”
In response to the reporter’s questions, Psaki advised the media to ask the White House medical experts about the findings of the study, while also saying it was inaccurate to say the Biden White House ever pushed lockdowns.
“I would note that the president has been clear, we’re not pushing lockdowns. We’ve not been pro-lockdown,” said Psaki. “That has not been his agenda. Most of the lockdowns actually happened under the previous president. What our objective has been is to convey that we have the tools we need to keep our country open thanks to the president’s leadership and focus on fighting the virus. And that’s reflected in the fact that 98% of schools are open, over 210 million Americans are fully vaccinated.”
“We have the tools to avoid lockdowns and we’re not moving back and that’s our intention at this point,” she continued.
“You guys do believe that lockdowns were more harmful than helpful?” the reporter pressed.
“Again I would point you to our scientific experts on the specifics of a study,” Psaki responded. “But the president’s agenda the president’s approach has not been locked down it has been using the tools we have to prevent that.”
While Biden has never explicitly stated during his presidency that he was in favor of the lockdown, after Texas and Mississippi relaxed restrictions including business’ operational capacities, the president called the decisions “Neanderthal thinking,” The Daily Wire previously reported:
Democrat President Joe Biden mocked Texas and Mississippi on Wednesday over the two states announcing that they were fully reopening their economies and lifting mandatory mask mandates.
“I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden said in a response to a question about the two states. “Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms. We’ve been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough for every American, to get every adult American to get a shot.”
“The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in mean time everything’s fine, take off your mask,” Biden continued. “Forget it. It’s still matters. … And it’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science. Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distance. And I know you all know that, I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it.”
While on the campaign trail in September 2020, then-candidate Biden also stated that he would be in favor of “shutting down” the country if that’s what his medical team advised:
“I would shut it down; I would listen to the scientists,” Biden told ABC’s David Muir in a joint interview with his running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, to air Sunday. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to save lives.”
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