Biden contradicts his own press secretary, says he’s ‘not directly engaged’ in looming rail strike

During what would have been dubbed unthinkable a few years ago, the nationwide shortage of baby formula that sent parents on a desperate search just to be able to feed their babies, Americans learned that the Biden administration was slow to rise to the crisis at hand — a crisis that was foreseeable when the nation’s biggest infant formula maker shut down in February over reports of contaminated product.

History appears to be repeating itself with a national railroad strike looming, as President Joe Biden contradicted the White House by claiming that he has not been directly in touch with either side of the labor dispute, according to Fox News.

The Biden family spent Thanksgiving in Nantucket, Mass., a yearly tradition, staying at the sprawling waterfront compound owned by billionaire David Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm. In talking to reporters, the president said he has not gotten involved because negotiations between unions representing railroad workers and their employers were ongoing.

“My team has been in touch with all the parties, in rooms with the parties,” Biden explained. “I have not directly engaged yet because they’re still talking.”

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the president was “directly involved” in the negotiations to avert a strike.

“The president is indeed involved directly. I don’t want to get into the details at this time, but he has been involved. He remains focused on protecting America’s families,” she said, after calling on the two sides to resolve their differences.

When pressed by a reporter, who cited SMART Transportation President Jeremy Ferguson saying that Biden has been largely absent from negotiations, Jean-Pierre tripled down.

“This is the third time I’m saying he’s been directly involved,” the president’s spokesperson said. “You’re talking about one union president. There are twelve. You’re talking about one. I said I’m not going to provide any details at this time.”

Reuters reported that over 300 groups, including the National Retail Federation and the National Association of Manufacturers, urged Biden last month to get involved in the dispute to help avoid a strike ahead of the holiday season.

If a strike occurs, the news agency said it “could idle shipments of food and fuel while inflicting billions of dollars of damage to an already struggling national economy,” adding that a shot down of rail traffic “could freeze almost 30% of U.S. cargo shipments by weight, stoke inflation and cost the American economy as much as $2 billion per day by unleashing a cascade of transport woes affecting U.S. energy, agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare and retail sectors.”


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