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COVID Lockdowns, Part Deux?

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

If the Democrats think they are going to drag America backward because of the Delta variant, they might be in for an exceedingly rude awakening. Based on comments coming from the Biden administration, it appears that they have not realized this yet.

During a White House press briefing on Thursday, principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre acknowledged that they believed it could be necessary to reinstate lockdown orders and other COVID-related restrictions that Americans lived under for over a year. She made the remarks after Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked about President Joe Biden’s inconsistent remarks on the matter. He said:

President Biden says that we are not returning to lockdowns, shutdowns, and school closures, but he also once said that we didn’t have to wear masks anymore once we were vaccinated. So why should Americans trust him now?

Jean-Pierre replied, explaining that the American people should trust the administration because it listens to the “scientists” and “experts.” She continued:

This is a public health situation. This is not about politics at all. This is about saving lives. And this is what the president is all about. He wants to make sure that we are saving lives. If you look at … the last six months, that’s what he’s done, every day. And you see that in the numbers. Now we’re at a point where we have to double down and make it very, very clear to people that we can’t, we can’t let the pandemic win, we have to continue to fight.

Doocy pressed the issue, asking if the White House would push “shutdowns” and “school closures” if the scientists suggested it. In response, Jean-Pierre said:

Well, we listen to, like I said, we listen to the CDC and the expert and their guidance are, you know, the CDC is a body that is very well respected. And again, we follow their guidance.

Whether or not she intended to, Jean-Pierre stated that the Biden administration would push for lockdown orders and other COVID-related measures if the scientists and experts at the Centers for Disease Control recommended it. Of course, it is not possible to order a lockdown at the federal level as this is a decision that must be made by the states. But at least one governor indicated he would be open to reissuing lockdown orders in his state.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, a Democrat, stated that he would lock down the state again if COVID cases continued to rise in neighboring states. During an interview with Fox 32, he indicated that if he were to order another lockdown, he would do it differently than he had the first time around and make sure it did not favor big box stores. He said:

When you walk into a Walmart, in addition to there being a grocery store, there’s also other things that you could buy. And so I think, certainly in retrospect now, I think what we would say is, “if you could have kept the capacity limit appropriate in a smaller venue, it might have kept that open.”

There haven’t been any polls conducted measuring American attitudes toward the possibility of another lockdown as of yet. However, it does not seem likely that the Democrats will have the political will to place people under another round of lockdown orders while the country is working to get back to normal. Even if the ambit of the new orders is less restrictive, as Pritzker seemed to suggest, people will not look kindly on having to live under these measures again.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom is under serious threat of being recalled largely because of his intrusive COVID restrictions – and his willingness to violate his own rules in the most cavalier fashion possible. Regardless of the outcome, it is still clear that people are fed up with being unable to live their lives as they did pre-pandemic.

Doocy’s line of questioning was apt. If the administration’s messaging on COVID, vaccines, and lockdowns have been so aleatory, how can the public trust the information coming out of the White House? There can be no doubt that other Americans on both sides are asking the same question. But is the president willing to stave off pressure from the pro-lockdown faction of the party or will he acquiesce to their authoritarian demands?