Biden: 'Politics Doesn't Have to Be This Way'

By Susan Jones | September 10, 2021 | 11:13am EDT
President Joe Biden speaks at a D.C. school on Sept. 10,  2021. (Photo: Screen capture)
President Joe Biden speaks at a D.C. school on Sept. 10, 2021. (Photo: Screen capture)

( - "Have at it," President Joe Biden said on Friday, when a reporter, shouting, asked him, "What is your message to Republicans who are calling your vaccine requirements an overreach, who are threatening to challenge it in court?"

Following his blame-the-unvaccinated speech on Thursday, Biden on Friday bemoaned the current state of politics, comparing it to "war" and saying it "doesn't have to be this way."

Biden, visiting a D.C. school with his wife Jill on Friday, said he is "so disappointed" that "some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids -- so cavalier with the health of their communities."

"We're playing for real here," Biden continued. "This isn't a game, and I don't know of any scientist out there in this field who don't think it makes considerable sense to do the six things I've suggested."

The problem for some Americans is that Biden did not "suggest." He told the nation on Thursday, "this is not about freedom," as he announced new executive orders requiring all executive branch federal workers, all federal contractors, even employees of large businesses to get vaccinate or risk losing their jobs.

"Let me conclude with this," Biden said on Friday:

One of the lessons I hope our students can unlearn is that politics doesn't have to be this way. Politics don't have to be this way.

They're growing up in an environment where they see it's like a -- it's like a war, like a bitter feud. If a Democrat says 'right,' everybody says left. If it's a left, they say right.  I mean, it's not who we are, it's not who we are as a nation. And it's not how we beat every other crisis in our history. We've got to come together.

I think the vast majority -- look at the polling data. The vast majority of the American people know we have to do these things. They're hard, but necessary. We're going to get them done.

Biden's comment on Friday that "we've got to come together" contrasts with his divisive tone on Thursday when he made the following comments:

-- Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated, even though the vaccine is safe, effective, and free.

-- The vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing. Nearly three-quarters of the eligible have gotten at least one shot, but one quarter has not gotten any. That's nearly 80 million Americans not vaccinated, and in a country as large as ours, that's 25 percent minority. That 25 percent can cause a lot of damage, and they are.

-- The path ahead, even with the delta variant, is not nearly as bad as last winter. What makes it incredibly more frustrating is we have the tools to combat COVID-19, and a distinct minority of Americans supported by a distinct minority of elected officials are keeping us from turning the corner.

-- These pandemic politics I refer to are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die. We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part, who want to get back to life as normal. As your president, I'm announcing tonight a new plan to require more Americans to be vaccinated to combat those blocking public health.

-- We need to do more. This is not about freedom or personal choice. It's about protecting yourself and those around you:

-- My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see? We've made vaccinations free, safe, and convenient. The vaccine is FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We've been patient, but our patience is wearing thin and your refusal has cost all of us. So, please do the right thing.

-- For the vast majority of you who've gotten vaccinated, I understand your anger at those who haven't gotten vaccinated.

-- Right now, local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic, while their governor picks a fight with them, and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying in schools. If they'll not help, if these governors won't help us beat the pandemic, I will use my power as president to get them out of the way.

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