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Psaki won't say if Biden wrong to declare victory over COVID in July

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday wouldn’t say if President Biden was “overconfident” in declaring victory against COVID-19 in July.

Psaki was pressed during Thursday’s press briefing on whether Biden was too confident a few months ago, prompting Psaki to sidestep the question. 

“This is an evolving virus, a smart virus that has produced additional variants, variants that have been incredibly – that can spread very quickly like the delta variant, but there are other variants of course,” Psaki said. “Data evolves and the steps we need to take to address to get the virus under control to help people return to normal has to evolve as well.”

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The reporter followed up by asking whether Biden gave Americans a “false sense,” noting that Biden’s July 4th speech was titled, “Celebrating Independence Day, an independence from COVID-19,” and he said his administration “gained the upper hand” against the virus.

“Was that premature?” Psaki was asked. 

The press secretary responded by blaming the 80 million people who haven’t been vaccinated.

“The reason we’re here is because people have not gotten vaccinated, 80 million of them. Not because of any other reason. Not because of a speech. Not because of CDC guidance. Not because of any other reason and so what our objective is from the federal government is to continue to take bold and ambitious steps to get more people vaccinated and protect more people.”

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Biden will be delivering a speech Thursday evening to address Americans on his six-pronged strategy to combat the COVID-19 delta virus as his poll numbers continue to slip. 

“On Thursday the president will speak to the American people about his robust plan to stop the spread of the delta variant and boost vaccinations. As the president has said since day one, his administration will pull every lever to get the pandemic under control,” a White House official said on Tuesday. “On Thursday, the president will lay out a six-pronged strategy that will help us do just that, working across the public and private sectors.”

Paul Steinhauser contributed reporting

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