President Joe Biden speaks about the COVID-19 variant named omicron during a visit to the National Institutes of Health, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, in Bethesda, Md. Biden looked out over an audience of government scientists and framed his latest plan for fighting COVID-19 as an opportunity to at last put an end to divisiveness over the virus, calling the politicization of the issue a “sad, sad commentary.” And then he tacked on a political dig. Some people “on the other team,” he said Thursday, were threatening to hold up government spending and endangering the nation’s credit out of pique over vaccination requirements. “Go figure,” he added. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
(AP) — For months, President Joe Biden has taken it on the chin from Republicans over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Democratic president’s efforts to confront COVID-19 have long attracted a litany of fiery statements, legal challenges and more than a few barbs from his predecessor. But Biden was elected on the promise of depoliticizing the virus response and following the science, so responding in kind wasn’t seen as an option early on.
Now, as public patience wears thin amid the emergence of the new omicron variant, the White House and its allies are seizing on what they see as a political opening to push back.
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