Members of the Biden administration admitted they were behind in getting the coronavirus vaccine into the arms of Americans across the country, but blamed the delay on “bottlenecks” and the lack of a comprehensive plan from the Trump White House.
Ron Klain, President Biden’s nominee as White House Chief of Staff, said a vaccination plan “did not really exist when we came into the White House.”
“The fundamental difference between the Biden approach and the Trump approach is that we are going to take responsibility at the federal government,” Klain said Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”
Xavier Becerra, the nominee to run Health and Human Services, linked Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan with getting a handle on the increasing number of cases across the country.
“The plane in a nosedive. And we’ve got to pull it up,” Becerra said on CNN. “And you’re not going to do that overnight. But we’re going to pull it up. We have to pull it up. Failure is not an option.”
“But first you have to rescue people, you have to rescue the economy,” he said. “President Biden made it clear: it won’t happen overnight.”
He sidestepped a question on CNN’s “State of the Union” about when anyone who wants a COVID-19 vaccine “will be able to get one.”
“Well, that’s a matter of making sure we’re coordinating with the states, because it’s not the federal government that’s putting the vaccine in the arm,” he said on “State of the Union.”
“But we are trying to provide it, or providing the resources, and they help to make it happen. And what we want to make sure is that the locals when they’re doing this, have a plan that’s clear,” Becerra continued.
Pressed on a timeline for the vaccine by CNN anchor Dana Bash, Becerra said he can’t specifically say when that will happen, but claimed the Biden administration will be transparent about their plans.
“We give people straight shot information. We don’t try to hide the ball. And once we have that information, I guarantee you, we will share,” he said.
Becerra also defended Biden’s vow to commit to 100 million vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office, saying the president was working with data he had before they entered the White House.
“Once we’re in the House, taking care of business, we will be able to get more precision, But you got to give us a chance to figure out what’s going on in the cockpit, that’s causing this plane to nosedive so severely,” he said.
Klain said making good on the 100 million shots would still be “quite an accomplishment.”