The White House got called out for tweeting a whopper of a fib on Thursday, claiming that “there was no vaccine available” when President Joe Biden took office, and then made it worse by attempting to walk back the false claim, asserting it “misstated” that “vaccines were unavailable in January 2021.”
“When President Biden took office, millions were unemployed and there was no vaccine available. In the last 15 months, the economy has created 8.3M jobs and the unemployment rate stands at 3.6% — the fastest decline in unemployment to start a President’s term ever recorded,” the White House tweeted.
The tweet was mocked and heavily criticized on both sides of the political aisle. Many had already been vaccinated and Biden himself publicly took his first jab on Dec. 21, 2020. As the White House got hammered for its statement, it quickly sent out another tweet on Friday attempting to conduct damage control over the claim.
“We previously misstated that vaccines were unavailable in January 2021. We should have said that they were not widely available. Vaccines became available shortly before the President came into office. Since then, he’s responsible for fully vaccinating over 200 million people,” the White House hastily claimed.
We previously misstated that vaccines were unavailable in January 2021. We should have said that they were not widely available.
Vaccines became available shortly before the President came into office. Since then, he’s responsible for fully vaccinating over 200 million people. https://t.co/rHJ0GZ63Dy
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 13, 2022
The original tweet remains online despite the obvious falsehood of its statement. Twitter notably allowed the tweet and did not censor it.
CNN host Jake Tapper cornered Dr. Anthony Fauci on the misstep and the epidemiologist was at a loss for words over it.
“But as you know, that’s not true,” Tapper commented. “There was a vaccine available, it might not have been widely available, but it was available.”
He noted that CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale found that there were over 3 million Americans who had been fully vaccinated and more than 18 million who had at least one shot as of Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021.
“Why is the White House politicizing the pandemic by tweeting out that there was no vaccine available until Joe Biden became president?” Tapper asked Fauci. “It’s not true.”
“So you’re talking to the wrong person,” Fauci deflected nervously. “I wasn’t involved in the tweet. I just can’t explain it. Sorry.”
(Video Credit: CNN)
CNN further blasted the claim: “It’s just not true that ‘there was no vaccine available’ at the time Biden took office. About 3.5 million people were fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and about 19 million people had received at least one vaccine dose as of Biden’s inauguration day on January 20, 2021, according to statistics published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The US was already administering an average of more than 1 million doses a day at the time. The first doses administered outside trials were given on December 14, 2020, while President Donald Trump was still in office. And Biden himself received his second dose nine days before he was sworn in.”
“Today, I received the COVID-19 vaccine,” read Biden’s original tweet from Dec. 21, 2020. “To the scientists and researchers who worked tirelessly to make this possible – thank you. We owe you an awful lot. And to the American people – know there is nothing to worry about. When the vaccine is available, I urge you to take it.”
Today, I received the COVID-19 vaccine.
To the scientists and researchers who worked tirelessly to make this possible — thank you. We owe you an awful lot.
And to the American people — know there is nothing to worry about. When the vaccine is available, I urge you to take it. pic.twitter.com/QBtB620i2V
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 22, 2020
On Jan. 13, 2021, the White House shared a 33-second video of Biden getting his second dose of the vaccine “because he trusts scientists.”
“Our administration is committed to doing everything possible to ensure every American has all the information they need to get vaccinated,” the Biden administration vowed.
President-elect Biden received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine because he trusts scientists.
Our administration is committed to doing everything possible to ensure every American has all the information they need to get vaccinated. pic.twitter.com/9FzLEeqwOi
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 13, 2021
According to Fox News, a number of Twitter users received a disclaimer informing them that other readers had “added context” to the White House tweet, but that it was only part of a “pilot program” being tested with a “small group of people.
Biden’s newly appointed ‘Disinformation Czar’ Nina Jankowicz had previously suggested that “blue-check” verified users on Twitter be allowed to add context to other users’ tweets, an idea which Tesla CEO and soon-to-be owner of Twitter said he found “disconcerting.”
Biden and the White House were ridiculed and pummeled for the false assertion over COVID vaccinations on Twitter:
The disinformation, it burns https://t.co/1DiPJYrdvE
— Benjamin Weingarten (@bhweingarten) May 13, 2022
Who’s manning the @WhiteHouse Twitter account? Delete this false tweet. Biden himself has said 8% of seniors had gotten the vaccine on the day he took office. Biden was one of them. —> https://t.co/ojDmn1DNIQ https://t.co/V7z07DHQ90
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) May 13, 2022
I wonder if Nina Jankowicz might have something to say about this claim:
"there was no vaccine available"@POTUS received his 2nd dose of COVID vaccine on Jan. 11 – 9 days before his inauguration. https://t.co/jwaSJlNuWj
— John Roberts (@johnrobertsFox) May 13, 2022
Disinformation from the White House, there were already 900,000 shots being administered per day when Biden took office https://t.co/YqZ95Jzmv9
— Gates McGavick (@GatesMcgavick) May 13, 2022
"Throughout the history of the twentieth century, many supporters of fascist ideologies regarded political lies as truth incarnated in their leader…
This history continues in the present, when lies again seem to increasingly replace empirical truth."#disinfo https://t.co/mSwSSZ20w7
— Pranesh Prakash (@pranesh) May 13, 2022
Whoa, White House spreading misinformation.
Also, more pedantic point here: The number of unemployed people in the United States today is ~5.9 million, which, last I checked, is still "millions." https://t.co/HbWEfijUWx
— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) May 13, 2022
— Chad Felix Greene 🇮🇱 (@chadfelixg) May 13, 2022
The people who want to control misinformation from being spread Tweeted this out without mentioning Biden got a dose of the vaccine before he was sworn in. https://t.co/pNcQMToxmX
— Libertarian Party OH (@LPOhio) May 13, 2022
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