President Biden attacked Tennessee parents who protested mask mandates for the second time in less than a week in an address delivered at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.
Biden also threatened Republican governors around the country who have banned school board mask mandates, at the press conference, during which he took no questions. He did not address the unfolding military debacle in Afghanistan caused by his reckless decision to remove all American troops before American citizens in the country were evacuated. At present the Biden administration has abandoned thousands of Americans left behind enemy lines in the country which the Taliban overran earlier this month in a matter of days.
Here is a partial transcript of Wednesday’s press conference:
START OF TRANSCRIPT
President Joe Biden:
We need to make sure children are wearing masks in school. Before I talked to you about the news relating to vaccines let me talk about masks and our children.
Unfortunately, as we have seen throughout this pandemic, some politicians are trying to turn public safety measures – children wearing masks in schools – into political disputes for their own political gain. Some are even trying to take power away from local educators by banning masks and schools.
They are setting a dangerous tone. For example, last week there was a school board meeting in Tennessee and protesters threatened doctors and nurses who were testifying, making the case for masking children in schools. Intimidation and threats were seen across the country and are wrong. They are unacceptable. (emphasis added)
I have said before, this isn’t about politics. It is about keeping our children safe. It is about taking all the viruses together, united. I have made it clear that I will stand with those who were trying to do the right thing. Last week I called school superintendents in Florida and Arizona to thank them for doing the right thing requiring masks and schools.
One of them said we teach science so we follow the science. The other said, students first. I could not agree with what they both said. That is why today I am directing the secretary of education, an educator himself, to take additional steps to protect our children.
This includes using his oversight authority and legal action, if appropriate, against governors trying to block and intimidate local school officials and educators.
As I said before, if you are not going to fight COVID-19, at least get out of the way of everyone else who is trying. You know, we are not going to sit by as governors try to block and intimidate educators protecting our children.
For example, if a governor wants to cut the pay of hard education leaders who require masks in the classroom, the money from the American rescue plan can be used to pay the salary 100 percent.
I am going to say a lot more about children in schools next week as we head into the school year. Remember this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, says masks are critical, especially for those not yet vaccinated, like our children under the age of 12.
Let’s put politics aside. Let’s follow the educators and scientists who know a lot more about how to teach our children and keep them safe than any politician.
This administration is always going to take the side of our children. Next, I want to talk to those of you who cannot get vaccinated – can get vaccinated but you haven’t.
The Delta variant is twice as dangerous. Vaccines are the key to stopping it. We are making progress. More than 90 percent of seniors have at least had one shot and 70 percent of people over the age of 12 have gotten their first shot as well. That is good news but we need to go faster.
END OF TRANSCRIPT
Watch President Biden’s full remarks here.