Whiplash! After Fox News appearance, CDC boss reverses federal vaccine mandate message

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The Biden administration’s constantly changing messaging surrounding the coronavirus, particularly the coronavirus vaccine, has some Americans feeling whiplash.

During a White House briefing Thursday, President Joe Biden suggested that his administration is looking into whether a federal vaccine mandate would be legal.

“It’s still a question whether the federal government can mandate the whole country. I don’t know that yet,” he said.

Listen:

Questioned about these remarks the following afternoon, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed the idea of the administration ever implementing a federal vaccine mandate.

“A national vaccine requirement is not under consideration at this time. That’s where we are with that,” she said.

But during an appearance on Fox News’ “Special Report” several hours later, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Rochelle Walensky explicitly said that the administration is, in fact, “looking into” a vaccine mandate.

“Are you for mandating a vaccine on a federal level?” host Bret Baier asked.

“That’s something that I think the administration is looking into. It’s something that I think we are looking to see approval of from the vaccine. Overall, I think in general, I am all for more vaccination. But I have nothing further to say on that except that we are looking into those policies,” the CDC director replied.

She added that, for the time being, any vaccine mandates currently in place have been instituted by either local leaders or business owners.

Listen, and take note of the timestamp:

(Video: Fox News)

The meaning of her remarks seemed clear to the public: The administration was considering directly involving itself in the matter by “mandating a vaccine on a federal level.”

Yet exactly an hour after she made the remarks, Walensky performed a full 180, writing in a tweet to a CNBC reporter who’d reported her original remarks that she hadn’t meant what she’d originally said.

“To clarify: There will be no nationwide mandate. I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government. There will be no federal mandate,” Walensky wrote.

Look:

The backtrack, one of several within a span of 24 hours, drew massive criticism. The administration was breeding confusion, critics argued, as well as essentially spreading misinformation — something the administration purports to oppose.

Even fans of the administration complained, with one writing that they’d hoped “the CDC would get its act together under a Biden administration, but it clearly has not.”

Look (*Language warning):

This same lack of clarity has been seen in regard to the prospect of lockdowns.

During Thursday’s briefing, Jean-Pierre admitted to Fox News’ Peter Doocy that if the CDC recommends more lockdowns and school closures, the administration will comply.

Hours later that same evening, she walked back the statement:

However, the following day, the president explicitly told members of the press that more COVID restrictions, presumably including lockdowns, are possible “in all probability.”

Look:

So which is it? Nobody — not even the Biden administration itself — seems to really know …

Vivek Saxena

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