On Tuesday evening, President Biden traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for his first “Presidential Town Hall.” During the event, Biden spoke with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper and answered questions “from the American people.”
“Some of the questioners here voted for him. Some did not,” said Cooper.
Here are the key takeaways from Biden’s first town hall as President of the United States.
“No Vaccine” Lie, with fact-checkers coming to the rescue
On the subject of the COVID-19 vaccine, Biden openly lied about the availability or existence of the vaccine when he came into office.
“And the biggest thing, though, as you remember when you and I — no, I shouldn’t say it that way, ‘as you remember’ — but when you and I talked last, we talked about — it’s one thing to have the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office, but a vaccinator — how do you get the vaccine into someone’s arm?” Biden told Cooper. “So you need the paraphernalia. You need the needle, and you need mechanisms to be able to get it in. You have to have people who can inject it into people’s arms.”
Cooper ignored this falsehood, continuing with the discussion.
Biden says there was no vaccine when he came into office.
That is abjectly FALSE. President Trump brought about the fastest vaccine for a novel pathogen in history.
How does Joe get away with this? pic.twitter.com/OcFeVbQ3At
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) February 17, 2021
Rather than pointing out the inaccuracy, “fact-checkers” rapidly moved to defend Biden’s lie. Glenn Kessler, Editor and chief writer of Washington Post’s Fact Checker, described it as a “verbal stumble,” and a “typical Biden gaffe.”
It was a verbal stumble, a typical Biden gaffe, as he had already mentioned 50 million doses being available when he took office. Ex Trump officials should especially cool the outrage meter, as it just looks silly. https://t.co/HFjH01lXgH
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) February 17, 2021
CNN’s fact-checker, Daniel Dale, defended Biden’s statement, saying that the president “clearly wasn’t trying to claim the vaccine did not exist at all under Trump.”
Biden had said just prior that there were "only" 50 million vaccine doses when he took office. I'm looking into that claim (and a bunch of other claims Biden made tonight), but he clearly wasn't trying to claim the vaccine did not exist at all under Trump. https://t.co/2EtKDWyR7o
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 17, 2021
On the subject of Uyghur persecution, Biden says “culturally there are different norms”
During the interview, on the subject of Biden’s recent call with Chinese President Xi, Cooper asked Biden, “What about the Uyghurs? What about the human rights abuses in China?”
Fumbling on the subject of Uyghur persecution in the context of his “two-hour conversation” with Xi, Biden rambled about the Chinese history of victimization as justification for the Communist Party’s strict regime.
“I talked about this, too. And that’s not so much refugee, but I talked about — I said — look, you know, Chinese leaders — if you know anything about Chinese history, it has always been — the time when China has been victimized by the outer world is when they haven’t been unified at home. So the central — to vastly overstate it — the central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that.”
He then appeared to dilute the immorality of China’s actions regarding the minority Uyghur population, saying that “Culturally, there are different norms that each country … are expected to follow.”
“I point out to him: No American President can be sustained as a President if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States. And so the idea I’m not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uyghurs in western mountains of China and Taiwan, trying to end the One China policy by making it forceful — I said — and by the — he said he — he gets it. Culturally, there are different norms that each country and they — their leaders — are expected to follow.”
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) February 17, 2021
Children are the “the safest group of people in the whole world”
On the subject of the COVID-19 vaccine, an audience member brought her young daughter to the microphone to ask about Biden’s plans for vaccinating children.
“As we’ve been talking about, the coronavirus is very real and very scary. And it’s especially scary for children who may or may not understand. My children, Layla — eight, here — and my son Matteo — seven, at home — often ask if they will catch COVID, and if they do, will they die. They are watching as others get the vaccine, and they would like to know when will kids be able to get the vaccine,” the audience member asked.
Biden responded, saying “First of all, kids don’t get the vacci- — get COVID very often. It’s unusual for that to happen. They don’t — they — and there — the evidence so far is, children aren’t the people most likely to get COVID — number one.”
“Number two, we haven’t even done tests yet on children as to whether or not the certain vaccines would work or not work, or what is needed. So that’s — so you — you’re the safest group of people in the whole world — number one,” Biden continued.
“Number two, you’re not likely to be able to be exposed to something and spread it to mommy or daddy. And it’s not likely mommy and daddy are able to spread it to you either. So I wouldn’t worry about it, baby. I promise you.”
Q: "When will kids be able to get the vaccine?
Biden: "First, kids don't get COVID very often…So you're the safest group of people in the whole world. You're not likely to be able to be exposed to something & spread it to mommy or daddy"
So why aren't school open 5 days a wk pic.twitter.com/uvzoWky4Q8
— Mona Salama (@MonaSalama_) February 17, 2021
Yet again, Cooper failed to ask the obvious follow-up question of “If kids ‘don’t get COVID very often,’ and kids are ‘the safest group of people in the whole word,’ why are we forcing children into isolation, often with deadly consequences?”
Instead, Cooper moved on to ask when the pandemic is “going to be done,” and when we are “going to get back to normal.”
Softball questions instead of “where is Gov. Cuomo?” or “why didn’t you fire TJ Ducklo?”
Despite the scandal unfolding in New York, with Gov. Cuomo finally having admitted error after his administration’s decision to withhold data on COVID-19 death rates, Biden wasn’t asked one question about the man he had reportedly considered to be his Attorney General.
Multiple figures at CNN, the network who hosted this town hall event, have also refused to acknowledge the ongoing controversy.
This wasn’t the only topic ignored by CNN. When he entered office, Biden warned his administration of the consequences which would follow interpersonal misconduct. “I’m not joking when I say this: If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another with disrespect, talking down to someone, I will fire you on the spot. On the spot. No ifs, ands, or buts.” However, when White House Deputy Press Secretary TJ Ducklo was accused of sexually harassing and berating a Politico reporter, he was only given a one week suspension. He later resigned.
Instead, Cooper found time to ask Biden questions like “What’s it like? How’s it different?” regarding his return to the White House, and “Is it different than you expected it to be, in some ways?”
Moving the goalposts and throwing Jen Psaki under the school bus
In December, Joe Biden promised “to bring the coronavirus pandemic under enough control to open most of the nation’s schools during his first 100 days as president.” In recent weeks, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was forced to walk back those claims, saying that Biden’s “goal that he set is to have the majority of schools, so more than 50 percent, open by day 100 of his presidency. And that means some teaching in classrooms. So at least one a day week, hopefully it’s more. And obviously it is as much as is safe in each school and local district.”
When Cooper quizzed Biden on his current position, “now saying that means those schools may only be open for at least one day a week,” Biden responded, saying “No, that’s not true.”
“That’s what was reported; that’s not true. There was a mistake in the communication,” Biden continued. “But what I — what I’m talking about is I said opening the majority of schools in K-through-eighth grade because they’re the easiest to open, the most needed to be opened, in terms of the impact on children and families having to stay home.”
Biden then said that they would be “close” to opening schools at the end of the first 100 days of his administration. Cooper decided not to push Biden on his focus on K-through-8 schools and the dilution of his promise to being “close” after 100 days.
WATCH: Biden reverses White House's previous guidance on school reopenings, says schools should open five days a week for in-person learning by end of April pic.twitter.com/QAfJmogUzY
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) February 17, 2021
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.