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Tipsheet

Biden Just Made Quite the Admission About His Response to the Baby Formula Shortage

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

President Biden admitted on Wednesday that he did not expect the baby formula shortage to become as serious as it is.

The president appeared surprised that the closure of one plant—Abbott Nutrition’s facility in Sturgis, Michigan—could have as big of an impact on the supply nationwide as it has.

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“I don’t think anyone anticipated the impact of the shutdown of one facility,” he told reporters. 

The president met with baby formula manufacturers to discuss the shortage, which he said will likely last “a couple more months.”

One reporter pressed Biden about why he seemed caught off guard when the CEOs had just said “they understood it would have a very big impact.”

“They did,” Biden replied, “but I didn’t.”

Company executives said they knew in February the plant’s closure would have a huge impact on supply.

“We knew from the very beginning that this would be a very serious event,” Robert Cleveland, senior vice president for North America and Europe nutrition for Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, told the president.

The president, however, said he wasn't made aware until April. 

“Here’s the deal,” Biden said. “I became aware of this problem sometime in early April, about how intense it was. We did everything in our power from that point on.”

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As NBC pointed out, that admission is at odds with the White House’s insistence that it’s been on top of the issue with an “all of government response” since the FDA shuttered the facility in February. 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Wednesday she did not know whether formula manufacturers had been in touch with administration officials with concerns about an impending shortage prior to April. 

“I don’t have the timeline on that,” she said. “All I can tell you, as a whole-of-government approach, we have been working on this since the recall.”

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