Biden's COVID record: Highest daily case total, low test kit supply, and a federal role reversal

Biden insists he doesn't believe the shortage of tests was "a failure" of his administration.

Updated: December 28, 2021 - 11:01pm

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Hired by American voters to conquer COVID-19, President Joe Biden is being humbled in ways big and small as the pandemic roars into a third year fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

Criticisms of Biden are mounting on both sides of the political aisle as critics question both a lower than expected supply of at-home test kits and the president's sudden declaration Monday that there won't be a federal solution to COVID-19.

"This is not what he campaigned on. At all," former Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh tweeted.

Added former Hillary Clinton adviser and liberal activist Peter Daou: "NEWS: Biden gives up."

That news only got worse Tuesday when the Centers for Disease Control of Prevention announced the United States set a single-day record for new COVID-19 infections, with 441,278. The tally smashed the previous high of 294,015 set last January, before vaccines were widely available.

The 46th president hasn't given up, but he has changed his messaging, suggesting states are better equipped than the feds to deal with the current Omicron surge.

And with his vaccine mandates sidelined by court challenges, Biden is also banking on his ambitious new plan to mail 500 million free at-home COVID tests to Americans' homes in January.

However, there's a nationwide shortage of at-home tests now, critics note.

States like Ohio and New Hampshire, which gave out free at-home COVID tests, ran out within hours, NPR reported. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health canceled a rapid test giveaway last week after running out at previous giveaways, according to WHYY. Pharmacies across the nation are also short on supply of at-home tests.

Biden told ABC's David Muir in an interview that aired last Wednesday that he didn't believe the shortage of tests was "a failure" of his administration.

"I don't think it's a failure," he said. "You could argue that we should have known a year ago, six months ago, two months ago, a month ago."

The president added, "I wish I had thought about ordering" 500 million at-home tests "two months ago."

On a Monday call with the National Governors Association, Biden said, "There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level."

His comments came after the head of the NGA, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R), urged the president to prevent the federal government from interfering with states' efforts to fight COVID.

"One word of concern or encouragement for your team is that as you look towards federal solutions that will help alleviate the challenge, make sure that we do not let federal solutions stand in the way of state solutions," Hutchinson said. "The production of 500 million rapid tests that will be distributed by the federal government is great, but obviously that dries up the supply chain for the solutions that we might offer as governor."

Prominent Republicans also blasted Biden for backtracking on his campaign promise to "shut down the virus."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' press secretary, Christina Pushaw, tweeted a video montage of Biden’s promise to end the pandemic, ending it with a clip of his statement from Monday to the governors.

"What a difference a year makes," Pushaw captioned the video.

The GOP tweeted the Monday clip of Biden, calling him "a hypocrite."

"Joe Biden claimed he would shut down the virus. Now a year later when he failed to do so, he says there is no federal solution to COVID. Joe Biden is a hypocrite," the GOP's official Twitter account posted.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) tweeted, "When Joe Biden says 'there is no federal solution,' he's trying to avoid blame for his incompetence. If he really believes this, he should rescind his unconstitutional federal mandates."