CNN Correspondent Says Biden Seemed ‘Confused’ Throughout Interview With ABC News
19:02 GMT 24.12.2021 (Updated: 19:12 GMT 24.12.2021)
Joe Biden has faced concerns about his mental fitness from day one in office, with his 2020 rival Donald Trump repeatedly demanding cognitive testing for the 79-year-old Democrat while boasting about “acing” his own mental acuity test.
CNN correspondent Jeff Zeleny has criticized President Biden for what he said was his “confused” performance during his Thursday interview with ABC News, including when talking about Covid test kits.
“Repeatedly throughout this interview with David Muir which was recorded this afternoon, President Biden seems confused, and was confusing the half-billion [Covid] tests that they’ve ordered with the half-billion pills,” Zeleny said
in a panel discussion on CNN late Thursday.
“Of course pills were in the news today, with the Pfizer approval of the anti-viral. He corrected himself, but that was one thing that struck out to me. But then simply this administration and the president leading the charge here, really not accepting any responsibility at all for this lack of testing,” Zeleny added.
“Yes, Omicron came on very quickly here, but it has been almost a month since Thanksgiving when the news was coming. So [Biden says] he wishes he could have acted faster, but then explains why he didn’t,” the correspondent complained.
Biden also faced media criticism on the lack of Covid testing capacity Tuesday while describing the government’s plans to buy and distribute about half a billion tests amid reports of shortages across the country. Biden said he didn’t consider the lack of tests a “failure” on the part of his administration, since the Omicron strain “just happened almost overnight just in the last month.”
“All of a sudden, it was like everybody rushed to the counter. There was a big, big rush, and I knew that was coming. So what I tried to do was meet with the companies and use the Defense Production Act to get a half a billion more tests and figure out how to get them to their homes, get them on the shelves in stores. That’s what it’s all about,” Biden said.
23 December 2021, 09:26 GMT
The Omicron strain of Covid-19 emerged in South Africa in November, with the doctor who discovered it characterizing it as an infectious but “extremely mild” variant compared to predecessors. Most Omicron patients have exhibited symptoms typical to the common cold, including a scratchy cough, fatigue and muscle pain. The US has reported one death attributed to Omicron to date.
The strain has nevertheless caused governments around the world to sound the alarm, urging an acceleration in vaccinations and in some cases, implementing tough new restrictions. Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for calm and said the Omicron variant appeared to be “not as harmful as it seems,” and pointed to the conclusions of health experts that it may even be a kind of “live vaccine” against Covid.
9 November 2021, 00:03 GMT