Testing debacle continues: Psaki won’t say if Biden knew of nixed plan to mass-mail COVID tests

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The Biden administration has finally begun mailing rapid at-home COVID tests to the American people, better late than never, albeit with many caveats.

Households, no matter what size, may only order one pack of four COVID tests, meaning households containing more than four people are out of luck.

Note that a household is not identified as a family but rather as an address. In other words, only four Americans at any address will be able to test for free.

This stipulation hasn’t been well-received, including by the left:

Critics argue that the administration should have and would have been better prepared had it listened to public health “experts” months earlier.

As previously reported, last fall these “experts” presented the president with a strategy calling for mailing out free at-home COVID tests to the American people. However, the idea was ignored until the last moment.

During a press briefing Tuesday, Steven Nelson of the New York Post tried questioning White House press secretary Jen Psaki about this very matter.

“Vanity Fair reported recently that, on October 22nd, a group of health experts from Harvard, the Rockefeller Foundation, and other groups proposed on a Zoom meeting with administration officials a plan to mass distribute coronavirus tests to homes before Christmas to prevent a winter surge of COVID-19 cases, but that they were told, three days after that Zoom meeting, that that idea was dead,” he said.

“So, I emailed you about this yesterday and again this morning so that you’d be able to track down a firm answer on two details here. The first detail is: Which administration officials attended that October 22nd meeting? For example, did Drs. Fauci and Walensky participate? And was President Biden personally briefed at the time on that recommendation before it was passed over?”

Psaki responded with deflection, claiming that the fact that the tests are “now” being shipped out proves that “we’ve done a lot of what was discussed in that meeting that happened a couple of months ago, including massively expanding our testing program and capacity.” She then tried to excuse the administration for not having begun this process sooner.

“The issue at the time, which was a very small part of the conversation, was that the market had not expanded enough to, at that moment in time, be able to launch the website we’re launching tomorrow,” she said.

“And the president, you know, used the Defense Production Act, invested $3 billion to expand it, quadrupled the size of our testing capacity, and now we’ve ordered one billion doses.”

The “experts” disagree with this framing. Speaking with Vanity Fair last month, one of the attendees at the October meeting, Dr. Michael Mina, outright accused the administration of caring more about promoting vaccines than about promoting testing.

“It’s undeniable that [the administration] took a vaccine-only approach. [They] didn’t support the notion of testing as a proper mitigation tool,” he said.

Nelson, who’s as detested by the left as Fox News’ Peter Doocy because of his willingness to ask tough questions, promptly pushed back on Psaki’s framing.

“The idea though to mass distribute tests to homes before Christmas and New Year’s — that idea was not adopted. How can President Biden shut down the virus if he’s, you know, not being briefed on these ideas? I mean, that’s my question. So, I’m wondering: Who were the advisors, and was President Biden briefed on this idea at the time?” he said.

Psaki immediately jumped to claiming she’d already “answered your question,” prompting Nelson to try and push back and note that she hadn’t.

In response, she “rudely” cut him off, shouting, “Let me finish, let me finish!” She then repeated virtually everything she’d said prior, growing “ruder” by the second.

Disappointed by the press secretary’s non-answer “answers,” Nelson then moved on to his next question.

“The second question is that, in light of President Biden’s first year coming to a close, the data indicates that he spent a quarter of his days at least partially in Delaware. In light of that, will the White House be reconsidering the — the decision not to release visitor log information from his Delaware residences?” he said.

“Well, the President goes to Delaware because it’s his home. And it’s also where his son and his former wife are buried. And it’s a place that is, obviously, close to his heart,” Psaki replied, avoiding the actual question.

“A lot of presidents go visit their home when they are President. We’ve also have gone a step further than the prior administration and many administrations in releasing visitor logs of people who visit the White House, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Nelson then tried to ask a third question, but Psaki shut him down: “I think we’re done, and we’re going to move on,” she said.

Actually, polling data suggests that it’s the American people who’re “done”:


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