January 5, 2022

O’Keefe gave Republicans a gift with his “question.” More than a month ago, The New York Times noted that while Republicans have worked like the devil(s) to keep their tribe from helping to stop the spread – i.e. wearing masks and getting vaccinated, they are now blaming Biden for the rise in cases. O’Keefe could have asked Press Secretary Jenn Psaki how to deal with a party that is willing to let Americans get sick and die for the sake of their political power. But no.

O’KEEFE: Cases are rising across the country, tests are hard to come by in many places or there’s long lines for them. Schools are closing again or having to go virtual and that’s not just because of the weather but because of the pandemic.

There is a sense among many that the country has lost control of the virus. Would the White House agree with that?

Psaki was more than ready for the question:

PSAKI: We would not. And here’s why: We’re in a very different place than we were a year ago, Ed. Two hundred million people are vaccinated. Those are people who are protected — seriously protected from illness and death from the virus.

We have also just purchased the largest over-the-counter purchase of tests in history: 500 million tests. That builds on the fact that we have already distributed 50 million tests back in December to rural health centers, to community health centers; the fact that we have 20,000 sites across the country where you can get free tests; the fact that, next week, people can get reimbursed for their tests. And we are going to continue to build on that.

It also — on schools, I would say: Ninety-seven percent of schools are open across the country. And the President wants school to be open. That’s why, months ago, even when people questioned his advocacy for this funding, he advocated for $130 million in the American Rescue Plan and $10 billion to cover testing, even when many people said that was not necessary and was not needed.

That has all been distributed to states. If states have not used it — and some have not — and if school districts have not used it, now is the time to use it.

So, I would note that we have taken steps to prepare for any contingency, any moment. And we’re working to implement and build on that from here.

I think Psaki is terrific and I don’t mean to criticize her stellar response. But I would have loved to see her call out the Republican role in the spike. When an opposition party is doing everything they can to keep Americans sick and dying for the sake of undermining a presidency, it can’t be highlighted enough.

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