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In a sobering public address, the president again pleaded with unvaccinated Americans to get the shot in their arms to stop the spread of COVID-19 as cases again spike nationwide.
President Joe Biden speaks about the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
“How concerned should you be about omicron, which is now the dominant variant in this country?” Biden questioned in preface to his answer. “If you’re not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned. You’re at a high risk of getting sick. And if you get sick, you’re likely to spread it to others.”
The president also reiterated that “almost everyone” who has died from the coronavirus over the past several months was unvaccinated.
But Republicans took issue with Biden’s tone and accused him of using fear as a means of control.
“This is all about power,” South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem took to Twitter to say. “Not science. Not facts. The Biden administration will do and say ANYTHING to control the American people with fear.”
It is unclear which part of the speech Noem believed was factually inaccurate, but her frustration over the president’s speech was echoed by those on the Hill.
“Biden’s press conference is a joke,” wrote Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs. “The only plan he has for COVID is to continue manipulating mandates to maintain control over you.”
During his speech, Biden said the U.S. would not see economic shutdowns or closed schools as witnessed at the onslaught of the pandemic.
But other Republicans were frustrated that he used the speech to draw differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans.
U.S. President Joe Biden listens to a question as he speaks about the country’s fight against coronavirus at the White House in Washington, U.S., Dec. 21, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott urged the president to avoid division in his address on the coronavirus pandemic.
“I urge President Biden to use his address today to deliver a unifying message and stop this disgraceful villainizing of fellow Americans,” he said just hours before the president appeared live.
“Real leadership is ‘we,’ not ‘us versus them,'” continued Scott.