Biden jabs Trump in first visit to CDC
President Biden on Friday made his first visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters since taking office to thank scientists and workers there for their efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“We owe you a gigantic debt of gratitude, and we will for a long, long, long time,” Biden told a small group of CDC officials gathered in an operations room.
Biden repeatedly focused on his administration’s respect for science, and broader support for a science-based approach to the virus among the public.
The comments appeared to be a subtle jab at former President Trump, who repeatedly undermined his CDC director and other top health officials by offering unproven ideas about coronavirus treatments and misleading comments about the severity of the pandemic.
“The public is thankful to you, because it’s about science,” Biden said. “That’s what they understand. They understand. And we’re not going back to the old days, even if tomorrow the whole administration changed. I think you’ve changed things. You’ve changed them in a way that are going to make everybody healthier in this country … because you speak truth and science to power.”
Biden praised the CDC further with “changing the psyche of the country” as it enters a second year of the pandemic.
The president’s visit to the CDC coincided with the day his administration surpassed 100 million vaccinations administered, meeting Biden’s stated goal for his first 100 days on his 59th day in office.
Biden was joined at the CDC by Vice President Harris and agency Director Rochelle Walensky. Officials offered a briefing on the state of the pandemic, including the status of coronavirus variants around the country, COVID-19 testing, therapeutic development and how the virus has disproportionately impacted minority communities.
The trip to the Atlanta headquarters was a late addition to Biden’s schedule. He was originally slated to tout the passage of a $1.9 trillion relief package during a drive-in rally with Harris. But the two altered their plans after a shooting near the city left eight people dead, with most of the victims being Asian. The shooting came amid a broader rise in anti-Asian violence during the pandemic.