CNN’s John Berman chides White House aide on reopening schools: ‘Not a trick question’
CNN anchor John Berman on Wednesday pressed a top White House aide to clarify the Biden administration’s stance on teacher vaccines amid the discussion on how to safely reopen schools during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s not a trick question. I feel like you guys have treated it like a trick question,” Berman said to Symone Sanders, the chief spokesperson for Vice President Harris. “I just want to know what the White House position is on whether teachers need to be vaccinated in order for kids to return safely return to school.”
Berman noted that CDC Director Rochelle Walensky has stated teachers don’t necessarily need to be vaccinated before children can begin taking full-time in-person instruction.
Sanders said the White House believes teachers should be prioritized in terms of vaccine distribution but did not answer whether vaccines should be mandatory before reopening schools.
“Prioritize is one thing,” Berman shot back. “Is it necessary though? That’s the question. And it’s really a yes or no question.”
Sanders argued the administration is focusing on whether it is safe for students to return to school, a notion Berman rejected, telling her: “I’m not sure why it’s a hard question to answer.”
“I think the president has been clear, the vice president has been clear and I was clear just now that it is the administration’s position … that teachers should be prioritized for vaccinations,” Sanders replied.
CNN’s @JohnBerman presses VP Harris Chief Spokesperson Symone Sanders on teacher vaccinations:
“It’s not a trick question. I feel like you guys have treated it like a trick question … Is it safe for teachers to go back to school?”
— The Recount (@therecount) February 17, 2021
During a town hall on the network Tuesday night, Biden said his goal is to reopen schools to full-time in-person instruction within his first 100 days in office.
“I think we’ll be close to that at the end of the first 100 days,” Biden said. “The goal will be five days a week.”
On the issue of vaccinating teachers, Biden added, “We should move them up in the hierarchy.”
One of the more memorable moments from Tuesday’s town hall came when Biden reassured a young girl in the Milwaukee audience who expressed fear about potentially catching the coronavirus if she returns to school.
“Kids don’t get COVID very often,” Biden told the girl. “It’s unusual for that to happen. The evidence so far is children aren’t the people most likely to get COVID.”
“So you’re the safest group of people in the whole world, number one,” the president added. “Number two, you’re not likely to be able to be exposed to something and spread it to mommy or daddy. And it’s not likely mommy and daddy are able to spread it to you either. So I wouldn’t worry about it, baby. I promise you.”
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease doctor, said this week he believes children won’t be eligible for vaccinations until the fall.
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