White House press secretary Jen Psaki told the media about a week ago that the administration's goal is to have at least 50 percent of schools open one day a week by President Biden's 100th day in office. Asked to elaborate during a CNN town hall on Tuesday night, Biden said that was a "mistake" in communication.
“The goal would be five days a week,” Biden told Anderson Cooper.
An education reporter watching the town hall shared her confusion on Twitter.
Biden says: “The goal would be five days a week” for school reopening, apparently reversing earlier statement from @PressSec that one day a week counts toward his goal of reopening schools #cnntownhall— Laura Meckler (@laurameckler) February 17, 2021
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki hopped online to respond to Meckler in real-time.
In case helpful. Last week I said @POTUS goal was to open schools five days a week as quickly as possible. And that we are going to rely on science. Which is exactly what we are doing.— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 17, 2021
Former Trump campaign staffer Abigail Marone came in with the assist for Meckler, and replayed Psaki's own words for her from last week's White House press conference, where she very clearly said the goal was "at least one day a week." We too reported on it.
that's actually not what you saidhttps://t.co/Wlj7l4vysp— Abigail Marone (@abigailmarone) February 17, 2021
"No question White House has always said that’s the ultimate goal," Meckler said in response to Psaki. "But you did say in measuring reopening toward goal of majority of schools reopen in 100 days, that 1 day a week counts. (Of course we are almost certainly already at that goal already so a lot of this is semantics)."
Even CNN anchor Jake Tapper noted the discrepancy.
Wow — Psaki defending herself in real time after Biden said there was a communications error about his school opening goals.— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) February 17, 2021
But.. she has her own statement completely wrong. (Actual statement reported from @jaketapper on the right) pic.twitter.com/H9loMBOMoC
Psaki is becoming pretty good at spinning the narrative. Just look at how she answered a question about President Biden's apparent broken promise to get out $2,000 stimulus checks a few weeks back.
Parents are itching to get their kids back to school. And I bet they're hoping to hear some consistent messaging and concrete dates from the White House regarding when their kids can resume their educations.
By the way, if the White House truly is "relying on the science," what's wrong with the CDC's science?