President Joe Biden has long been the subject of speculation regarding perceived cognitive decline, leading some pundits to suggest that he is not actually in charge of his own administration.
He seemed to bolster such concerns this week with an apparent joke, implying that he and first lady Jill Biden believe chief White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci is the true president.
“World-class doctors, scientists, researchers”
According to Fox News, the quip came on Thursday during a speech at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
While outlining his administration’s plans for handling the COVID-19 pandemic over the course of the next few months, Biden expressed gratitude for the hard work of “world-class doctors, scientists, researchers” at the NIH.
BIDEN: “Who’s President? Fauci!” pic.twitter.com/thHNFY1W8s
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) December 2, 2021
“I’ve seen more of Dr. Fauci than I have my wife, we kid each other,” he said. “Hey look, who’s president? Fauci!”
Although he clearly meant the remark as a humorous aside, plenty of his critics are pointing out that most jokes contain an element of truth. It is also worth noting that Fauci’s advice regarding COVID-19 has been an influential factor in the development of Biden’s policies.
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“But all kidding aside, I sincerely mean it,” Biden added, reiterating his appreciation for the medical professionals who have worked to combat the ongoing public health crisis.
As for the substance of his speech, the president laid out a five-point plan of attack ahead of the winter months. Of course, similar plans announced in the spring and summer have led to mixed results at best.
This time around, Biden wants to expand vaccine booster efforts, establish new vaccine clinics geared toward families, provide free at-home tests, deploy specialized teams to hot spots, and ramp up vaccine distribution internationally.
The president also spent time discussing the new omicron variant, insisting that the White House would remain vigilant in the face of the latest COVID-19 threat. He also affirmed that the administration’s plan did not include any new business shutdowns or lockdown orders.
Despite his repeated campaign promises to defeat the pandemic virus, new reports indicate more Americans have died under Biden’s watch than during the Trump administration.