Senate Democrats once rallied around a singular COVID mantra: “follow the science.”
Then Joe Biden got elected, allowed politics to guide pandemic decisions, and they completely lost their ability to speak out.
Today, as Biden will tout relaxed COVID restrictions in his State of the Union in a desperate bid to reset the conversation around the pandemic – we can all agree upon a few facts:
A) Americans agree Joe Biden and Senate Democrats have mismanaged the pandemic since assuming power in January 2021:
- A plurality of voters disapprove of Joe Biden’s handling of the pandemic according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll aggregator.
- An Axios-Ipsos poll out today shows Joe Biden underwater on nearly every aspect of the pandemic: from communicating clearly and in a trustworthy manner about the virus, to protecting frontline healthcare workers, to supporting small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
- A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll “found 75 percent of respondents described themselves as tired of the pandemic… including 74 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of Republicans and 80 percent of independents. More than 70 percent of each group described feeling frustrated by the state of the pandemic as well.”
B) Joe Biden’s approval ratings are suffering because of this in part:
- The RealClearPolitics polling aggregator found that a strong majority of Americans disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as President.
- A recent CNN poll found: “Nearly 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of how Joe Biden is handling his presidency, with most of that group saying there’s literally nothing Biden has done since taking office that they approve of.”
- A recent Pew poll found that only 20% of Americans believed Biden would be a successful President.
C) The Biden White House and Democrats around the country have spent the last several weeks furiously backtracking on COVID guidelines in anticipation of Biden’s State of the Union:
- CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on February 9 in regard to relaxing mask mandates: “Our hospitalizations are still high, our death rates are still high… we are not there yet.”
- ABC News reported on February 9 that many Democratic Governors “preempted” the Biden White House on rolling back mask guidance, “prompting gentle pushback Wednesday from the Centers for Disease Control” – but also that the White House was feeling political pressure: “At the same time, the White House said it understood people were tired of masks.”
- President Biden on February 10: “President Joe Biden in an interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt on Thursday acknowledged there is tremendous political pressure to move beyond the current restrictions.”
- NBC News reported on February 15: “The White House has been eager for the CDC to provide an update on its indoor mask recommendation”
- The Friday before the State of the Union address, the CDC reversed course and announced it would drop mask recommendations for most of the country.
- Just days before Biden’s State of the Union, the U.S. Capitol and White House both officially announced they would be revoking their mask requirements.
In light of all this, let’s revisit Senate Democrats’ previous comments about letting politics dictate pandemic policies… and juxtapose to their silence in the face of Joe Biden’s politicization of COVID:
- VIDEO: “…we certainly should not be politicizing the science, which is why we’re concerned.” (Twitter, 10/19/20)
- VIDEO: “We ought to pay attention to the science, but the politicians have politicized everything.” (Twitter, 10/19/20)
- October 2020: “We should not politicize the science when it comes to getting COVID under control. When we reopen, we should do so safely.” (Twitter, 10/19/20)
- February 2022: “I think we increase our likelihood of making mistakes when we let the politics guide us rather than the science.” (Nicole Gaudiano and Kayla Epstein, “Democrats are in mask messaging chaos as Republicans gleefully shame AOC and Stacey Abrams for going without face-coverings,” Business Insider, 2/14/22)
CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO
- Cortez Masto in September 2020: “Since the start of the pandemic, the Trump Administration has put politics first while science and facts have taken a back seat. President Trump has undermined our public health officials and agencies at a time when the American public needs their guidance the most.” (Press Release, “Cortez Masto Cosponsors Bill To Combat Administration’s Politics-Before-Science Response To COVID-19,” CortezMasto.Senate.gov, 9/24/20)
- Cortez Masto in September 2020: “It’s time for our country to follow the facts & base our #COVID19 response on science, not the… political whims of the president.” (Twitter, 9/27/20)
- “From day 1 of the pandemic, the Trump admin has put politics ahead of scientific facts—and this has cost lives.” (Twitter, 9/27/20)
- HASSAN: “Our country’s public health experts must make decisions based on science – not political pressure. The Trump administration must stop its political interference, which is hurting efforts to combat this virus.” (Twitter, 9/1/20)
- MARK KELLY: “Arizona needs leaders who make decisions based on science, data, and facts — not politics — in order to get through this crisis.” (Mark Kelly Twitter, www.twitter.com/CaptMarkKelly, Posted 9/9/20)
- KELLY: “The government’s coronavirus response has been a step behind from the beginning because leadership based decisions on politics, not public health.” (Mark Kelly, “Mark Kelly: When Arizonans Needed Independent Leadership, McSally Too Worried about Politics,” Press Release, 9/9/20)
- KELLY: “Partisan politicians in Washington are playing with Arizonans’ lives. As Arizonans continue struggling through this pandemic, the Senate is no closer to passing additional COVID relief and instead is focused on pushing through a lifetime appointment for a Supreme Court justice with only 3 weeks before Election Day…” (Mark Kelly, “Mark Kelly: Partisan Politicians Are Playing With Arizonans’ Lives,” Press Release, 10/12/20)
- KELLY: “Partisan politics made this crisis worse than it should have been, and partisan politicians and their endless false attack ads are not going to lead us out of it.” (Mark Kelly, “I’ll be a senator for Arizona, Medium, 10/29/20)
- Reuters headline: “Don’t politicize the virus, Pelosi tells Trump” (Susan Cornwell, “Don’t politicize the virus, Pelosi tells Trump,” Reuters, 10/5/20)
- PELOSI: “He should not be dealing with it politically to make it look like he overcame the virus because he had such good policies, because in fact he has been very destructive and dangerous to the country.” (Susan Cornwell, “Don’t politicize the virus, Pelosi tells Trump,” Reuters, 10/5/20)
- In April 2020: “President Trump unfortunately appears to see the pandemic as just another opportunity to promote his own political interests.” (Caroline Kelly and Ted Barrett, “Schumer wants legislation to keep Trump’s name off future stimulus checks,” CNN, 4/27/20)
- In September 2020, Schumer called for HHS Secretary Alex Azar to resign, saying he allowed the CDC “to become subservient to the president’s daily whims.” (Matt Perez, “Schumer Calls For Trump’s ‘Subservient’ HHS Secretary Azar To Resign,” Forbes, 9/15/20)
- In an August 2020 letter, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with Sens. Markey and Blumenthal, accused President Trump of politicizing the COVID-19 pandemic, saying “President Trump and his advisors have repeatedly put their partisan political interests ahead of the health and welfare of the American people.”
- “They detail a host of allegations, including reports that Trump pressured the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to weaken its recommended restrictions for reopening churches, and that he agreed to pay for National Guard troops in only two states, Florida and Texas, because their governors made ‘special, direct cases to the President.’” (Anna North, “Elizabeth Warren calls for investigation into Trump’s politicization of Covid-19,” Vox, 8/26/20)
“Joe Biden and Senate Democrats mismanaged the COVID crisis, overreacted with draconian restrictions, and are paying a political price as frustrated Americans push back. It’s clear these Democratic politicians won’t speak out against the new politicization of COVID guidelines because now it’s their own jobs that are under threat.” -SLF Communications Director Jack Pandol