Former Walmart CEO Bill Simon slammed President Biden’s response to the supply chain crisis.
As dozens of cargo ships remain stranded outside of California ports, Biden suggested that White House partnerships with private companies could address shipping and processing bottlenecks. However, social media users have been posting images of empty store shelves along with captions such as “Bare Shelves Biden.”
Bill Simon — who led Walmart from 2010 to 2014 — agreed that the situation is a “mess from start to finish.”
“I’ve never seen it like this, and I don’t really think anybody living in this country has,” the executive told Fox Business anchor Dagen McDowell. “I mean, this is really unprecedented.”
Simon remarked on “Mornings with Maria” that “there’s a shortage of labor in our distribution system and there’s a shortage of people to put [items] on the shelf.” He added that the crisis will not be relieved “until we alleviate the labor shortage that’s out there and get people driving trucks and unloading at the docks and stocking shelves.”
For months, industry leaders have been urging President Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to help American supply chains return to normalcy. A June letter from Matthew Shay — President and CEO of the National Retail Federation — noted that the supply chain crisis has affected over 97% of American retailers:
Our nation’s supply chains are stressed because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, and they continue to struggle through our economic recovery. We would like an opportunity to discuss the impact these issues are having on the nation’s retailers, our workers and our customers, as well as potential solutions to address current and future disruptions.
Shay pressed the commander-in-chief to show “strong leadership” in resolving supply chain issues:
We continue to work with key executives at the ports and with our transportation providers. We need strong leadership from the administration to galvanize attention to the current situation as well as work to resolve long-standing issues that limit safe and efficient port operations. As the administration undergoes supply chain reviews for critical sectors, including transportation, addressing the current state of our nation’s ports and freight movement needs to be a critical component of the strategy. As trade continues to grow, we need to make sure we have truly 21st century ports and freight movement. This certainly is central to the administration’s Build Back Better approach.
However, Politico recently revealed that Buttigieg has been on paid paternity leave for months. A spokesperson for the Department of Transportation confirmed to the outlet that Buttigieg was “mostly offline” for the “first four weeks” after adopting twins.