On Wednesday, Biden admitted to not taking the baby formula problem seriously enough when it first happened and he gets visibly caught off guard when asked about the timeline of his response to the crisis. His remarks came after meeting with formula manufacturers.
“We knew from the very beginning that this would be a very serious event,” Robert Cleveland, senior vice president for Reckitt, said to the president.
Biden insisted he didn’t know that the closure of one Abbott plant in Sturgis, Michigan, would cause a shut down that would bog down the entire country.
“I don’t think anyone anticipated the impact of the shutdown of one facility,” he told reporters.
One reporter hit back and caught the president off guard. She said that the CEOs had just mentioned earlier to the president “they understood it would have a very big impact.”
Biden responds, “They did, but I didn’t.”
The President has repeatedly insisted that he didn’t know until April about the crisis and he did so again on Wednesday.
“Here’s the deal,” Biden said about his knowledge of the crisis. “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.”
Biden’s statement doesn’t square with an opposing statement from his own Economic advisor, though.
In a statement aired on CNN, Biden’s White House Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese said, “We were aware … back in February” of the baby formula shortage, “and we have had a team on this from the FDA and interagency process since then.”
Watch the clip below and read our previous reporting on it here.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre also said Wednesday that the administration has been working on the crisis since February.
“When was someone called here at the White House and say the [baby formula shortage] is a problem?,” a reporter asked Jean-Pierre.
“I don’t have a timeline on that. All I can tell you, as a whole of government approach, we have been working on this since February,” she responded.
Biden’s statement doesn’t jive with two statements from people within his own administration. Do you think he is telling the truth about the baby formula shortage? Tell us your thoughts.