The White House was slammed for a statement about vaccines that spread disinformation. The statement was so blatantly false that even fact-checkers from CNN and the Washington Post called on the Biden administration to delete the misinformation.
The official White House Twitter account claimed that there was no COVID-19 vaccine available when President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
“When President Biden took office, millions were unemployed and there was no vaccine available,” the White House stated on Twitter. “In the last 15 months, the economy has created 8.3M jobs and the unemployment rate stands at 3.6% — the fastest decline in unemployment to start a President’s term ever recorded.”
— The White House (@The White House)
However, President Joe Biden received his first COVID-19 vaccine dose on Dec. 21, 2020.
“Today, I received the COVID-19 vaccine,” Biden tweeted. “To the scientists and researchers who worked tirelessly to make this possible — thank you. We owe you an awful lot. And to the American people — know there is nothing to worry about. When the vaccine is available, I urge you to take it.”
— Joe Biden (@Joe Biden)
Biden received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination on Jan. 13, 2022. The official White House Twitter account shared a video of Biden being vaccinated against COVID-19.
— The White House (@The White House)
According to the Our World in Data website, there were nearly 19 million Americans who had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by President Biden’s Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, 2021. There were 3.5 million Americans who were fully vaccinated by the time Biden became president.
The White House’s tweet was fact-checked by CNN and the Washington Post – both of which are generally friendly outlets to the Biden administration.
The Washington Post’s resident fact-checker Glenn Kessler stated, “Who’s manning the @WhiteHouse Twitter account? Delete this false tweet. Biden himself has said 8% of seniors had gotten the vaccine on the day he took office. Biden was one of them.”
CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale wrote, “‘There was no vaccine available’ is very clearly false. More than 3 million Americans were fully vaccinated and more than 18 million had at least one dose by Biden’s Inauguration Day. Biden himself was fully vaccinated. Obviously became more widely available with time, but no doubt, and they’re free to tweet ‘the vaccine wasn’t available to much of the public’ or whatever. ‘There was no vaccine available,’ the end, goes way too far given that there were nearly 19 million people with shots, wrongly suggesting the whole rollout began under Biden.”
Twitter reactions to the false statement came in fast and furious. Many commentators called for Biden’s recently-created Disinformation Governance Board and the Department of Homeland Security-appointed misinformation czar Nina Jankowicz to correct the misleading statement from the White House.
CNN contributor Scott Jennings: “Joe Biden himself was vaccinated during the Trump administration, and we were doing one million shots a day when Biden was sworn in. These guys aren’t even trying anymore.”
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas): “Will the new Ministry of Truth be fact checking this absurd propaganda from the White House? No vaccines? None? Seriously? Delete this tweet and stop disgracing the office.”
Libertarian politician Spike Cohen: “Hey @DHSgov, how do I report a tweet to your new Disinformation Governance Board? The vaccine was available before Biden took office.”
Fox News anchor John Roberts: “And…. @twitter appears content to let this go unchallenged.”
Cultural commentator Michael Malice: “Their lies are becoming more explicit and more brazen They are using Twitter etc to literally script an imaginary universe.”
Singer Phil Labonte: “The vaccine was available when Biden took office. There was not job ‘creation.’ The jobs existed before the shutdown. If Trump said this the whole of the establishment media would be fact jacking and there would be wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth over ‘TRUMPS LIES.'”
Radio host Buck Sexton: “Biden regime propaganda isn’t just untrue, it’s pathetic.”
Sports commentator Clay Travis: “The first sentence is a lie. Joe Biden, and millions of others, received covid shots before January 20th. The second paragraph is classic disinformation. These are not ‘new’ jobs, they are the jobs we shut down in March 2020. We still aren’t back to the March 2020 job numbers.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.): “The Communist Ministry of Truth is in full force.”
Fox News contributor Dr. Janette Nesheiwat: “This is inaccurate false information. I received my vax Dec 2020 when Trump was President thanks to Operation Warp Speed which was available to me & millions of others.”
Former assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services Michael Caputo: “As a senior HHS leader on Operation Warp Speed I confirm this statement is false and misleading pandemic disinformation, a very clear violation of @TwitterSafety rules. The FDA authorized the first COVID19 vaccine for public use 12-11-2020.”