Republicans seized on President Biden’s Monday comment that there is “no federal solution” to the COVID-19 pandemic to demand an end to government mandates while labeling him a “hypocrite” and “incompetent.”
Biden, who famously vowed to “shut down the virus” during the 2020 presidential campaign, made the apparent admission during a virtual meeting with the nation’s governors about the pandemic response.
“Look, there is no federal solution,” the president said. “This gets solved at a state level.”
“And then it ultimately gets down to where the rubber meets the road, and that’s where the patient is in need of help or preventing the need for help,” Biden added.
The Republican National Committee referenced Biden’s campaign promise in a post on Twitter.
“Joe Biden claimed he would shut down the virus. Now a year later when he failed to do so, he says there is no federal solution to COVID,” the RNC said.
“Joe Biden is a hypocrite,” it concluded.
Earlier in Monday’s meeting, Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the head of the National Governors Association, urged Biden not to downplay the role the states play in battling coronavirus.
“As you look towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions,” Hutchinson said.
The White House is struggling to get a handle on a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Coronavirus cases have increased 66 percent in the US over the past seven days, according to a Johns Hopkins University database, but hospitalizations have risen only 4 percent in that same period.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) alleged on Twitter that Biden was “trying to avoid blame for his incompetence” and called on the president to “rescind his unconstitutional federal mandates.”
“There’s no federal solution, but the fed government can help by securing the border, approving safe treatments & tests, and appointing competent leaders at the FDA & CDC,” Cotton added.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican who has repeatedly criticized Biden over his administration’s border policies, echoed Cotton’s sentiments.
“Biden says there’s no federal solution to COVID and that this gets solved at a state level. He should immediately end his unconstitutional federal mandates,” Abbott said on Twitter.
“The Texas solution is no mandates and personal responsibility,” the governor added.
Government mandates requiring federal contractors and certain health care workers to be vaccinated have been challenged in court by several states, as has a separate OSHA rule that requires businesses with at least 100 workers to ensure their employees are vaccinated or regularly tested for COVID-19.
Last week, the Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments Jan. 7 in cases challenging the vaccinate-or-test rule for large employers as well as the vaccination mandate for staff at health care providers participating in Medicare and Medicaid.