PBS reporter: ‘Doesn’t look good’ that White House officials must act as Biden’s ‘translators’ after he speaks

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PBS NewsHour White House correspondent Laura Barron-Lopez said that Dr. Anthony Fauci and other administration officials are acting as “translators” for President Biden during her appearance on CNN’s “Inside Politics with John King.” 

Barron-Lopez argued that Biden’s remarks on CBS’s “60 Minutes” this past weekend, in which he declared that the COVID-19 pandemic is “over,” left White House officials scrambling to clean up his messaging. This scramble undermined Biden’s authority, she argued. 

“I mean, we’ve essentially left people like the Surgeon General, like Anthony Fauci, to have to go out there, this — you know, in the past few days, to say, ‘Well, this is actually what the president meant,’ meaning that he is saying that — you know, they’re being translators, which doesn’t look good for President Biden,” she said.

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Chief Medical Advisor to the president Anthony Fauci speaks during a briefing on the Omicron Covid-19 variant, watched by US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and President Joe Biden (C), in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021.

Chief Medical Advisor to the president Anthony Fauci speaks during a briefing on the Omicron Covid-19 variant, watched by US Vice President Kamala Harris (L) and President Joe Biden (C), in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 29, 2021.
(Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

“”It isn’t good for the White House, particularly when there are roughly 300 people dying a day of Covid,” she continued. 

This is not the first time – or even the only example from the “60 Minutes” interview – that White House officials have contradicted or walked back the Commander-in-Chief’s comments after he spoke.

On the issue of Taiwan, Biden committed on “60 Minutes” that U.S. troops would defend the island if China invaded it. However, on Tuesday, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan walked back Biden’s comments, reiterating that U.S. policy on Taiwan has not changed.

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 29: Anthony Fauci (R), Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, speaks alongside U.S. President Joe Biden as he delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting of the COVID-19 response team at the White House on November 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. 

WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 29: Anthony Fauci (R), Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, speaks alongside U.S. President Joe Biden as he delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting of the COVID-19 response team at the White House on November 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. 
(Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Fauci explained Biden’s COVID comments in an interview with Politico Monday, “What he really meant is that the very severe stage of the pandemic of having … 3,000 deaths a day — that stage is no longer present … people should not be cavalier that we’re out of the woods.”

Some, such as Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn, have seized the moment in response to Biden’s declaration. On Monday, Blackburn introduced legislation that would protect religious members of the military from facing further discrimination due to their vaccine status.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team on the latest developments related to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the South Court Auditorium at the White House complex in Washington, U.S., January 4, 2022.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team on the latest developments related to the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in the South Court Auditorium at the White House complex in Washington, U.S., January 4, 2022.
(REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein)

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Others, however, such as the liberal NPR, New York Times, and the Washington Post have criticized Biden for stating the pandemic has ended. 

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