OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
When one is working overtime to pander to more than one constituency it can become tough to not make oneself look ridiculous.
That was the conundrum faced by Vice President Kamala Harris on Wednesday when she appeared on the “Today” show and had to dance around the fact that experts have said it is OK for teachers to go back to school, even without being vaccinated against coronavirus, while also attempting to placate the Teacher’s Unions who do not want their teachers back in the classrooms, The New York Post reported.
Vice President Kamala Harris repeatedly dodged questions about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines on school reopenings under the Biden administration in a Wednesday morning interview.
“The CDC a few days ago finally put out some long-awaited guidance on how schools could safely reopen,” “Today” show host Savannah Guthrie pressed.
“Can you reassure teachers who are listening right now that it is safe for them to go back to school — even if they are not vaccinated — if these public health measures like distancing and masks are being implemented?” she asked.
“So first of all, let me just say this, and the president has said it, and we’re all really clear: Teachers should be a priority,” the vice president said.
“Teachers are critical to our children’s development, they should be able to teach at a safe place and expand the minds and the opportunities of our children. So teachers should be a priority, along with other frontline workers, and we’re going to make them a priority,” she said.
“But if they’re not vaccinated, is it safe for them?” Guthrie said as she interrupted Harris.
“Well I think that we have to decide if we can put in place safety measures, this is why it’s so important we pass the American Rescue Plan,” she said, but Guthrie again interrupted to get an answer from the vice president.
“I don’t want to beat it to death but I just, I know there are teachers listening, and the CDC has said they don’t have to be vaccinated to go back to school, of course, it’s the priority,” she said.
“We think they should be a priority,” Harris said, still avoiding a direct answer. “We think they should be a priority. We think they should be a priority, and the states are making decisions individually about where they will be on the list of who gets vaccinated. I believe they should be a priority, the president believes they should be a priority.”
Even CNN host Jake Tapper appeared befuddled by the messaging coming from The White House on school reopening.
“We’re hearing a lot of conflicting stuff from the White House, especially right now about when the vaccines will be widely available, what counts in terms of reopening schools,” Abby Phillip responded.
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“I think mixed messaging is a little bit of an understatement. … There’s been a lot of doublespeak,” the host said.
“It seems to be just about politics, which is this idea that they can’t seem to just give a simple answer about what the science says about when schools should reopen, and what they might want from a political perspective before that happens,” Phillip said.
“I think Jeff Zients … laid it out pretty clearly. It’s still puzzling to me why the president and vice president won’t say this themselves,” she said.