ABC News on Thursday reported that “conservatives” worked to “distort” the White House’s “door-to-door” COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign that he discussed earlier this week, but the report failed to acknowledge those were the exact words President Joe Biden used.
“President Joe Biden’s push to enlist volunteers, including local doctors and pastors, to go ‘literally knocking on doors’ to encourage vaccinations in some states sparked an outcry this week among conservatives, who mischaracterized the effort as the deployment of government agents to strong-arm reluctant Americans,” the network reported, adding that White House officials summarily pushed back on “right-wing media” and “Republicans” who allegedly misunderstood the administration’s intentions and the president’s words.
“I would say, for those individuals, organizations that are feeding misinformation and trying to mischaracterize this type of ‘trusted messenger’ work, I believe you are doing a disservice to the country and to the doctors, the faith leaders, community leaders and others who are working to get people vaccinated, save lives, and help end this pandemic,” said Jeff Zients, Biden’s COVID-19 response coordinator.
In his remarks earlier this week, Biden’s choice of words left little doubt in the minds of many Americans what his intentions were.
“In today’s briefing we discussed how our administration is going to devote the remainder of the summer to a special focus on five ways to make gains and getting those of you who are unvaccinated vaccinated,” Biden said Wednesday. “Because here’s the deal. We are continuing to wind down the mass vaccination sites that did so much in the spring to rapidly vaccinate those eager to get their first shot, and their second shot for that matter, if they needed a second.
“Now we need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes door to door, literally knocking on doors to get help to the remaining people, protected from the virus,” he specified.
Biden also pledged to assign “surge teams” that would be coordinated by the White House to push more unvaccinated Americans to get the jab.
The statements from Biden and those of his administration on the door-to-door initiative came as he fell short of his goal of having 70 percent of the country vaccinated by the Fourth of July holiday.
Some mainstream media outlets appeared to have taken Biden at his literal word as well, including The New York Times. The paper suggested this week following the president’s comments that a door-to-door campaign might be better than the alternative — recommending that states, businesses, universities, and venues shun unvaccinated Americans.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) was among the first to push back on the notion of sending federally sponsored teams to his door or those of his constituents.
“How about don’t knock on my door. You’re not my parents. You’re the government. Make the vaccine available, and let people be free to choose. Why is that concept so hard for the left?” he tweeted this week.
Adding to concerns that the Biden administration may begin to take a hard-line approach to the vaccine were comments made by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra during an interview with CNN on Thursday.
Becerra told host Brianna Keilar that because of the tax dollars expended by the federal government on the entirety of the COVID vaccine effort, the administration has a “right” to know the extent of its vaccination effort.
“Perhaps we should point out that the federal government has spent trillions of dollars to try to keep Americans alive during this pandemic. So it is absolutely the government’s business. It is taxpayers’ business if we have to continue to spend money to try to keep people from contracting COVID and helping reopen the economy,” he claimed.
Several social media users pushed back on ABC News’ claims that the president and his administration have been misunderstood in their intentions regarding the coronavirus vaccine effort.
“That’s exactly what he said,” one user wrote regarding Biden’s “door-to-door” remark. “How was it distorted?”
“Distort? Self-proclaimed Communist @PressSec literally said the words were going to go ‘door-to-door’ to make sure people that don’t have the vaccine get it,” another user said, citing similar comments made by press secretary Jen Psaki.
“It’s what the president said, more signs that the media [sic] is carrying the water for this administration. How will these community volunteers be certified in HIPPA laws? Will they have little notebooks or apps to record peoples vaccine status?” wrote another.
“Could it be that they listened to exactly what Biden said? Don’t think the distortion lies with the public,” another Twitter user wrote.
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