White House has no problem claiming credit for drop in gas prices after months-long blame game

President Joe Biden’s managed decline of American prosperity hasn’t been the crowd-pleaser he likely hoped it would be and now, after months of claiming there was nothing he could do and he wasn’t at fault for rising gas prices, his administration saw nothing wrong with taking the credit for a trending decline.

Under Biden’s watch, the national average price of a gallon of gasoline reached a record high of just over $5 on June 14. As of Monday, that average sat around $4.50, more than $1.30 higher than a year ago, and the president seemed all but ready to hoist up the “Mission Accomplished” banner.

Taking to Twitter, Biden spread the good word that the 9.1 percent inflation consumers were crippled by would be marginally less severe stating, “Gas prices have been dropping for 34 days straight, about 50 cents a gallon. That save the average driver about $25 a month. I know those extra dollars and cents mean something. It’s breathing room. And we’re not done working to get prices even lower.”

White House senior economic adviser Jared Bernstein endeavored to boost this message at Monday’s White House press briefing where he promoted a sunshine and rainbows outlook that only focused on the last 34 days.

A reporter asked, “Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of President Biden insisting that high prices and inflation, in the president’s words, were ‘expected to be temporary.’ A lot of my colleagues have asked similar questions, but I’m wondering how much faith can the American public put in future White House assessments about the economy, about inflation after they saw that inflation number increase month after month and before the Russian invasion of Ukraine?”

“Let me ask you to focus on what we’re trying to talk about today, which is something that is happening in the here and now,” Bernstein shot back and added, “We’re talking about what has happened in the past 34 days to prices at the pump,” as he further contented, “This is nothing close to a victory lap.”

But the matter wasn’t let alone as a follow up pressed, “Aren’t you having it both ways, Jared? Because when the gas prices go up it’s got nothing to do with the president. But when we see some decline you want him to get the credit.”

“I think there is no ‘both ways’ thinking here at all,” he argued as he stammered through a justification. “I think there’s been a consistent…pressure on this White House to try to do everything it could to ameliorate inflationary pressures and the president has reacted from the beginning talking about how this was such an important priority.”

Finding his feet on a surer ground of talking points, Bernstein propped up the release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but he was pressed again on the administration’s claim that as gas prices rose, Russian President Vladimir Putin was to blame with the eponymous “Putin’s Price Hike,” and as they are declining, Biden is taking the credit.

“I very much disagree with that framing,” the economist shot back before hedging that the results were “partially” from the presidents efforts.

“It’s one of the fastest declines in retail gas prices in a decade,” he also contended, reminiscent of Biden’s claims to have ushered in historic job numbers that were actually a result of people returning to work after COVID lockdowns.

Like the actual journalist in the room who had challenged Bernstein on the administration’s claims, the public was not receptive to this summer’s version of saving 16 cents on your barbecue.

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Kevin Haggerty

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