Vaccination pushes have gotten swept into broader culture-war debates, adding to the very partisanship Biden hoped to avoid. Few if any Republicans are in a position to tame those forces; more than a few — including those raising money off of anti-mask or even anti-Anthony Fauci messaging — are fueling them. It leaves the president and other national political leaders standing at the intersection of awkward dynamics, with no clear playbook beyond messaging that gets repetitive. Meanwhile, bigger and bipartisan concerns over the ability of big tech to rein in damaging messaging leave the White House and leaders on Capitol Hill frustrated but ultimately powerless for the time being.
The delta variant is spreading. Vaccine pushes are stalling. Wall Street is selling. Schools and businesses are planning — and scrapping those plans amid fears of new lockdowns and uncertain guidance. The Biden White House now faces what could prove a more problematic stretch ahead than even the early days of the vaccine rollout and the deadly weeks of the winter of COVID-19.
President Joe Biden speaks about the nation’s economic recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the State Dining Room of the White House, July 19, 2021. That feels like a long time ago. And the “day of special celebration” Biden marked on the Fourth of July was barely two weeks ago yet could hardly feel more distant.
A flood of COVID-19 cases among Texas Democrats in the nation’s capital and a breakthrough case of the coronavirus in a House member mirror escalating concerns throughout rest of the country about the spread of COVID variants. The White House confirmed that Vice President Kamala Harris tested negative for COVID-19 following a meeting with Texas Democrats, five of whom have now tested positive for COVID-19. The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper
But the people Biden needs listening to him the most are perhaps the least inclined to want to hear what he’s saying. It sets up a weary stretch for lawmakers who had hoped to focus on something else by now. Implicit and sometimes explicit in Biden’s COVID messaging has been the importance of trust. Follow the rules and make the appropriate sacrifices, he has said, and the country can get back to a sense of normalcy.
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