President Joe Biden spoke at a rally for California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday. And the footage was alarming.
Critics said the president looked sickly — even more than usual.
The speech lasted for only 15 minutes, but it felt longer. Biden couldn’t finish and had to halt the speech again and again because of his constant coughing.
“You either keep Gavin Newsom as your governor — (cough) —or you’ll get Donald Trump. It’s not a joke,” he said.
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During a particularly strange moment, Biden listed a number of infectious diseases, and then the paused to cough.
“To these Republican governors, it — (cough) — isn’t about public health, not the health of the people. It’s about politics,” he said, while coughing. “In Mississippi — (cough) — children are required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus, and more. It’s a state requirement — (cough).”
“Look, folks — (cough). We don’t need politics in this battle against COVID. We need science, we need courage, we need leadership.”
He was attacking Republican governors’ plans for vaccine distribution.
"We need science, we need courage, we need leadership": President Biden calls out "hypocrisy" of Republican governors on vaccine mandates pic.twitter.com/Vwe0FjnbEo
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 14, 2021
What’s more, Biden was coughing into his hand, despite the public health authorities’ longstanding recommendation to cough into one’s sleeve. In the CDC’s view, if someone coughs into his or her hand, then he or she can spread an infectious disease by touching doorknobs.
Former President Barack Obama promoted the CDC’s advice during a 2009 outbreak of swine flu, while Biden was serving as vice president. The practice more popular after Obama’s press conference.
Biden was sloganeering about science even as he was violating the recommendations of the scientific community.
Biden, 78, may want to worry about coronavirus. Adults over 65 accounted for 16 percent of the U.S. population but 80 percent of all U.S. deaths from COVID-19, the CDC reported in July 2020, before the vaccine rollout. Seniors also accounted for 75 percent of all total deaths in the U.S.
However, Biden received the vaccine in January. Vaccinated seniors are 94 percent less likely to go to the hospital for coronavirus, the CDC reported in April. Vaccinated seniors also seem to be less likely to die from the disease, although the CDC hasn’t collected any current data yet.
There remains confusion among experts on whether vaccinated adults can spread the virus as easily as the unvaccinated.
Biden may be coughing not because of the virus, but simply because of the poor air quality in Newsom’s California. The wildfire smoke is still lingering in the air.
Yet, even while coughing in the polluted air, Biden was attacking Elder’s environmental policies.
“It’s not a joke, a Republican governor blocking progress on COVID-19, who is also anti-woman, anti-worker, climate denier,” Biden said, presumably referring to Republican candidate Larry Elder. “The choice should be absolutely clear: Gavin Newsom. You have a governor who has the courage to lead. In Gavin, you have a governor — (loud cough) — who shares the state’s values.”
On Tuesday, Newsom extolled his own record on the environment, despite all the pollution. “We said yes to science,” he said.
Newsom ultimately avoided a recall. The Associated Press called the race in Newsom’s favor less than an hour after the polls closed. The first-term governor will remain in office and face re-election in November 2022.
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Watch Biden’s full speech here —
The Horn editorial team