The White House blamed unvaccinated Americans on Thursday for President Joe Biden’s failure to control the coronavirus pandemic.
“The reason we are here is because people have not gotten vaccinated, 80 million of them,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. “Not because of any other reason.”
Psaki was asked if Biden regretted his decision to declare “independence” from the coronavirus in July only to have cases and hospitalizations resurge in the United States.
She noted that the coronavirus was “a smart virus” that had evolved and would require the Biden administration to level more stringent vaccine mandates.
Psaki denied that Biden’s new speech on fighting the virus was a reaction to the president’s poll numbers on handling the coronavirus falling 12 points since April.
“This is not a political speech and it’s certainly not about poll numbers,” she said.
Biden is expected to tighten vaccine mandates for government workers and contractors.
Paski said that Biden’s new vaccine mandate would only have limited exemptions for religious or medical reasons. Federal employees refusing to get vaccinated, Psaki said, would be forced to begin the process for disciplinary actions.