What standard should we hold Joe Biden to on COVID deaths?

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Two days ago the NY Times reported on another grim COVID milestone:

Coronavirus deaths in the United States surpassed 800,000 on Wednesday, according to a New York Times database, as the pandemic neared the end of a second year and as known virus cases in this country rose above 50 million.

The new death toll — the highest known number of any country — comes a year after vaccines against the coronavirus began rolling out in the United States. It also comes at a tenuous moment in the pandemic: Cases are rising once again, hospitals in some parts of the country are stretched to their limits with Covid patients and the threat and uncertainties of a new variant loom.


Asking who is to blame for these deaths strikes me as a pretty silly question. COVID is spreading as fast as it can everywhere it can. You can blame each individual who spread it or you can blame the Chinese for not isolating it fast enough last year. But what I don’t think you can do is point at Joe Biden and say he’s to blame for every death.

The problem is that a tremendous number of Democrats spent much of last year saying exactly that sort of thing about President Trump. One of the people who explicitly made this argument was candidate Joe Biden:

That wasn’t the only time he made that argument. He said the same thing in a presidential debate:

Biden made other bold promises:

Shortly after he was elected he was asked about this promise and said he didn’t promise he was going to shut down the virus immediately. It was going to take time:

Here we are 11 months later and the economy is looking better in some respects though rising inflation is a big cause for concern. But putting that aside how are we looking on shutting down the virus? Not so good it turns out. In fact we’re now bracing for the spread of Omicron which, may lead to another winter in which a lot of people are sick.


Or maybe not. Whatever happens in the next few months, we already know right now that more than 800,000 Americans have died (either from or with) the virus and about half of those have happened on President Biden’s watch.

Conservatives get accused all the time of “whataboutism.” Sometimes I’d agree that people go a bit too far afield looking for a point of comparison to make a point or to avoid one. But not in this case. This case is directly comparable. In fact, Joe Biden’s own words practically beg us to make the comparison. This is a big campaign promise, maybe the biggest one he made and it obviously hasn’t worked out so far.

And yet, I don’t see anyone in the mainstream media bringing it up. When Jen Psaki was asked about it earlier this month by Fox News, she filibustered the question:

You may have noticed that Psaki gave Biden credit for the vaccines even though they were ready before he took office. You may also know that her explanation of what Biden meant last October doesn’t sound anything like this very blunt and simple tweet under Biden’s name:


It’s no surprise that the White House doesn’t want to talk about this comparison now. And frankly, it’s no surprise that the media (outside of Fox News) doesn’t bring it up either. Still, I wonder how media and twitter progressives who cheered on the idea that Trump was responsible for every single death last year explain it to themselves that Joe Biden has fallen far short of his own standard. The fact that we’re not talking about it isn’t proof it doesn’t matter, it’s proof that it does.

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