The White House spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, faced criticism from conservatives regarding President Biden’s commitment to reopening schools after COVID-19 lockdowns.
During a press briefing yesterday, a reporter questioned what steps the Biden administration is taking to help children make up for the learning loss suffered during the lockdowns. Jean-Pierre responded by stating that reopening schools was a priority for the President, saying that “kids have lost so much in the pandemic.” She explained that Biden fought hard for the American Rescue Plan, which allowed schools to receive the resources necessary for in-person education.
In the 2020 campaign, the D talking point was that opening schools was reckless and deadly and they should stay closed. They ran ads on it. https://t.co/xpaaYZM4sf https://t.co/goKEDQ0n9x
— Brittany (@bccover) May 3, 2023
However, conservatives on Twitter quickly criticized Jean-Pierre’s comments, claiming that they were a revision of history surrounding the Biden administration’s slow departure from COVID-19 lockdown policies. Political consultant Brittany Cohen pointed out that during the 2020 campaign, Democrats claimed opening schools was reckless and should remain closed. National Review writer Pradheep J. Shanker added that schools would have opened faster under Trump, while entrepreneur Steve Murch sarcastically tweeted, “Right, yes, it was definitely ‘thanks to Joe Biden’ that schools reopened. That’s exactly how that went.”
Critics also focused on the influence teachers unions had in demanding schools remain closed. The Republican Jewish coalition challenged Jean-Pierre’s statements on Twitter, tweeting “The American people know Joe Biden and Democrats across the country kowtowed to Union Bosses at the expense of parents and children.” Accuracy in Academia chairman Don Irvine wrote, “This will be news to the teachers unions who helped elect him.” Author Justin Hart used humor to criticize the situation, saying, “We could power the country for a year with all the gaslighting going on.”
Overall, conservatives accused Jean-Pierre of rewriting history and questioned the credibility of the White House press secretary. Criticism continues as the debate over the impact of COVID-19 lockdowns on education and the best strategy for reopening schools wages on.