President Joe Biden campaigned for months that a robust federal response could vanquish the COVID-19 pandemic, but he reversed course Monday by telling the nation's governors that states are likely to be more successfully tailoring solutions for their citizens.
"There is no federal solution. This gets solved at the state level," Biden declared during a call with the National Governors Association.
The president's response was a marked shift for America's 46th president, who campaigned last year that federal government under his direction could conquer the virus and who boasted just days ago that "federal emergency medical teams are ready to respond to surges nationwide."
Biden's declaration in July that the pandemic had been defeated was premature, as the Delta and omicron variants felled the nation in two successive waves.
The president's comments came after Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the head of the NGA, urged Biden to keep the federal government from interfering with state innovations in the fight against the pandemic.
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."