President Biden displayed his notoriously thin skin while rolling out his COVID-19 plan Thursday, blowing his stack when a reporter questioned whether his target of inoculating 100 million people in 100 days was set too low.
“When I announced it, you all said it’s not possible,” he snapped.
“Come on, gimme a break, man! It’s a good start.”
When Biden took office on Wednesday,
a past-week average of 912,497 daily doses were being delivered under outgoing President Donald Trump, according to Bloomberg News data.
“Shouldn’t you set the goal higher? That’s basically where the US is right now,” Biden was asked while wrapping up his briefing.
During a subsequent news conference, Biden press secretary Jen Psaki doubled down on her boss’ defense, saying that under the Trump administration, about 17 million of 36 million vaccines were administered — for a rate of about 500,000 a day.
“What we are proposing is to double that to about 1 million shots per day,” she said.
“We have outlined this goal and objective in coordination and consultation with our health and medical experts.”
But at that same news conference, Dr. Anthony Fauci — Biden’s chief medical adviser — said that the fast-spreading coronavirus mutation discovered in Britain had so far been found in “about 20-plus” American states.
President Joe Biden holds a booklet as he speaks about the coronavirus in the State Dinning Room of the White House on Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington.AP Photo/Alex Brandon
Fauci also said preliminary data showed that treatment with monoclonal antibodies may be less effective against another mutation discovered in South Africa and Brazil.
He called the developments “all the more reason to vaccinate as many people as possible.”
In Biden’s briefing, however — during which he said his administration would use the Defense Production Act to boost production of vaccines — the president bluntly admitted that goal was a long way off.
“The brutal truth is it’s going to take months before we can get the majority of Americans vaccinated,” he said.
Biden also said the COVID-19 death toll, which now exceeds 400,000, would likely reach 500,000 next month and “continue to mount.”
“Let me be clear: things are going to continue to get worse before they get better,” he said.
But Biden also insisted, “To a nation waiting for action, let me be clear on this point: Help is on the way.”
Biden repeatedly held up a 198-page plan outlining his administration’s seven goals for “COVID-19 response and preparedness.”
They include, “Restore trust with the American people,” “Protect those most at risk and advance equity” and “Restore U.S. leadership globally.”
Biden signed 10 executive orders at the earlier briefing, containing directives such as the Defense Production Act plan and mandating masks during interstate travel.
Other measures include requiring anyone entering the US from overseas to be tested before their arrival and then spending two weeks in quarantine.
This is not the first time Biden has lost his cool with a questioner at a public event.
At a campaign event in Wilmington, Del., in June 2020, Biden, 78, lashed out when one reporter asked about people, including Trump, who questioned whether he suffered mental deficits — the questioner noting his own mental deterioration at age 65 and asking if Biden had been tested for cognitive decline.
“You’re a lying dog face,” Biden said, apparently irritated that the reporter kept asking questions as he tried to leave the event, before adding that he was “constantly tested.”
That came after Biden infamously called a college student a “lying dog-faced pony soldier” at a campaign event in New Hampshire in February 2020.
Mercer University student Madison Moore, 21, said it was “humiliating to be called a liar on national TV by the former vice president.”