Advisers in the White House are reportedly divided on how to approach COVID-19 messaging ahead of the midterm elections, with some convinced President Joe Biden’s politicization of the pandemic has backfired.
Biden’s recent statements on COVID-19 have been less partisan and more aimed at encouraging all Americans to get the new bivalent COVID-19 booster shots. That’s because advisers to Biden are concerned his COVID-19 response and partisan bickering over vaccines isn’t a beneficial political strategy, according to a new report from Politico.
Gone are the mandates. Gone are the demands for GOP govs to “get out of the way.”
The WH is taking a gentler approach to selling the latest vaccine, reflecting a realization that picking fights over Covid is bad for public health — and bad for Bidenhttps://t.co/WP04Ft71Fp
— Adam Cancryn (@adamcancryn) October 26, 2022
Previous rhetoric from Biden cast Republicans as anti-vaccine, claiming his “patience is wearing thin” with those who haven’t gotten the shots and telling GOP governors who opposed mandates to “get out of the way.” In a Tuesday speech he took a more uniting approach, calling for Americans to “put all the old battles over Covid behind us.”
“None of this is about politics,” he said. “It’s about your health and the health of your loved ones.”
Democratic strategists and advisers believe that politicization of COVID-19 vaccines has not only harmed the country’s pandemic response, but Democrats’ chances for success in the midterms, according to Politico.
“Covid is not popular,” one person familiar with the discussions allegedly said. (RELATED: COVID Disproportionately Killed Men Despite Media Focus On Health Inequities)
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain is reportedly among the people who believe Biden should do more to emphasize his COVID-19 response on the campaign trail, not less. But others believe it is a losing battle, with Republicans gaining ground with anti-mandate, anti-health establishment rhetoric.
“We’ve got to be careful about just saying, oh they’re all antivax,” one senior administration official is quoted as saying. Other officials were reportedly frustrated Republican candidates aren’t suffering in the polls for spreading “misinformation.”
The evidence that Americans are no longer prioritizing COVID-19 as a political issue is clear in the lack of uptake for the new bivalent COVID-19 booster shots. In the nearly two months since they’ve become available, 7% of eligible Americans have gotten one, with polling indicating uptake is highly skewed by political party.