Governors urge Biden to "move away from the pandemic", grade Biden with "solid D" on performance in office

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The National Governors Association (NGA) held its winter meeting in Washington, D.C. on January 28 – 31. It was the first time in two years the group of the country’s governors met in Washington because of the pandemic. The bipartisan group found two areas in which to agree – it is time to move ahead with living with COVID-19, and Joe Biden receives failing grades for his performance in office.


Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, is chair of the group. He told the White House that governors want the CDC to provide clear guidance on ways for states to transition from pandemic to endemic status. It’s time for a more normal way of life because this virus isn’t going away. It will be with us as other viruses, like the flu, are with us every year. I think Hutchinson may put too much faith in the CDC for guidance on the way forward, but your mileage may vary.

“We need the CDC to help us to have the right standards to end this pandemic and move to more endemic status,” Hutchinson said during a meeting with President Biden, Vice President Harris and other governors as part of a meeting of the National Governors Association.

“And so that’s an important element that we as governors, in a bipartisan way, hope that the CDC can be helpful to define that more clearly,” added Hutchinson, who chairs the association. “We want to go from today to more normal.”

The governors met with Jeff Zients, the head of the White House COVID-19 response team. Biden told them that “”We got a way to go on that, in my view, but we’re moving.” Who knows that that means? Biden also said, “I think it’s all about making sure we have the same standards we’re applying across the board.” If anything, the pandemic has shown that decisions make specifically for individual states have proven to be more effective than sweeping one-size-fits-all government solutions. Mandates and executive orders from the White House have not stopped the pandemic as Biden promised to do. At least he did tell the governors that he will “try” to keep schools open. Good Lord. This is what happens when we have a president beholden to teacher unions. If Democrats were really interested in following the science, school children would have been in classrooms all along. It was a huge mistake to close down in-class learning and keep kids home, learning remotely. It will be years before they recover from that mistake, if ever.


Reporters were not so willing to let the pandemic go, though. The pandemic theatre is good for business, right?

A reporter asked Hutchinson how the US could move away from the pandemic when Covid hospitalizations were at an all-time high.

“Obviously, you can’t move away from a virus that’s still there. You can’t control that,” he said, but added that “people are striving for more normal life.”

“I think we’ve moved to that very quickly, Hutchinson continued, “but we need to have the guidelines very clear as to how you actually structurally move from the pandemic state of things to an endemic where you’re managing this virus like you would other illnesses in our country.”

He added there were “probably better measuring sticks” of how the country is faring than case counts of Covid-19, “which is hospitalizations, but how about the hospitalizations that are really caused by Covid.” He said he believed the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were “working on giving us the right standards for that.”

Hutchinson is right to bring up the measuring sticks aspect of the pandemic. We have no idea how accurate the numbers coming from pandemic reporting really are. Are deaths and hospitalizations being reported accurately as true deaths and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 or are the patients hospitalized with COVID-19, not solely due to COVID-19?


Biden dangled the prospect of more money coming from the federal government for states, as long as they cooperate with his agenda. He even said that states should use some of the funding to “fight violent crime”, a problem Biden has only recently even acknowledged exists. The White House is working hard to convince Americans alarmed about the spike in violent crime in cities across the country that Biden is pro-law enforcement. Never mind he habitually weighs in on stories and blames law enforcement in controversial cases – remember his hideous remarks against Border Patrol agents in the horse patrol working the Rio Grande Valley sector?

Ahead of the meeting at the White House, Biden plugged the federal funding states have received from the American Rescue Plan.

“We’ve sent you a whole hell of a lot of money,” the President said, “and we’re gonna send you more if you keep using it as well as you have.”

Biden said he has “made it clear” that some of the funds should be used “to fight violent crime,” and pushed states to hire “additional police officers,” and to invest in community violence interventions.

He also said the country needs to “do more” for essential workers to keep them on the job.

“That can mean, as some of you used, hero retention bonuses, higher pay temporary, paid leave to combat burnout and essential health care workers,” Biden said.


Kamala attended the meeting at the White House with Biden. She pushed them to support voting rights legislation currently stalled in the Senate. She used her usual talking points that all people eligible to vote should have the “ability and a meaningful ability to vote and access to the ballot.” They already do, Kamala. If a person can legally vote in America, they can do so in every state. Democrats fear election integrity reforms and call it voter suppression. It’s a very stale argument and regularly disproven.

After the meeting at the White House, some of the governors spoke to reporters. Hutchinson mentioned his disappointment with the administration’s handling of border security. He criticized Kamala for focusing solely on root causes of illegal migration and not actually focusing on securing the southern border.

Most of the governors gave Biden poor grades on performance. They cited a lack of communication, inflation and the botched withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“I think this is a failing administration, and I think it’s a real shame,” Gov. Doug Ducey, R-Ariz., told Fox News Digital at the National Governors Association (NGA) winter meeting in Washington, D.C.

Gov. Greg Gianforte, R-Mont., labeled Biden’s performance as simply an “F.”

“I’m going to give the Biden administration a solid D,” Gov. Chris Sununu, R-N.H., said. “And I’m trying to be generous there.”


Hutchinson didn’t want to give Biden a grade but did criticize how ineffective he is in leadership. “Whether you talk about border security, whether you talk about Afghanistan withdrawal, whether you talk about the inflation challenges we have, all of those areas the grade is poor,” Hutchinson said. Governor Sununu, who gives Biden a “solid D” and said that was being generous, cited poor communication coming from the White House to governors.

“Their communication is just terrible,” Sununu said. “And from a leadership perspective, communication is everything. Communication builds public confidence and builds transparency.”

“I sure as heck did not vote in support of President Biden when he was running for office, but there was an expectation with a lot of those independents in America that said, ‘well, I’m hoping he will use his relationships, reach across the aisle, build consensus, find some way to get Republicans’ voice in there … not come in with an authoritarian approach … make it a one-size-fits-all,” Sununu continued.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, tried to put a positive spin on Biden’s successes.

New Jersey’s Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said there is more work to do, and “nobody’s perfect,” but that the public and the media should focus more on the accomplishments of the Biden administration.

“I’m not big into grades, but I do think we focus, I think all of us, media or otherwise, on what didn’t get done. I think we should shine a light on what did get done,” Murphy said.

Murphy highlighted the American Rescue Plan; the bipartisan infrastructure bill; and progress on vaccination, boosters, testing and the number of kids in schools as positives for the Biden administration.


That is a very short list of successes, especially since Biden promised he’d get into office and solve all the problems and safe democracy, or something. He has very little to point to as accomplishments. His administration will be remembered for doling out trillions of taxpayer dollars, and getting a few Republicans to vote for an infrastructure bill in his first year. They dropped the ball on the pandemic – especially on the availability of tests. Biden can’t vaccinate the country out of the pandemic yet that is always his focus when he speaks of the pandemic. As the governors told him, it’s time to move forward.

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