Joe Biden divides Americans as POTUS coughs through Covid speech

President tells unvaxxed 'good reason to be concerned', bats for masks and booster shots, but not everyone is convinced it was a good speech

                            Joe Biden divides Americans as POTUS coughs through Covid speech
Joe Biden speaks about the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the State Dining Room of the White House, December 21, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

With the Christmas weekend just around the corner, President Joe Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated in his latest speech on Covid-19. Speaking from the State Dining Room of the White House on December 21, the President laid out a dire warning to the unvaccinated - "the unvaccinated have a significantly higher risk of ending up in a hospital or even dying." The speech focused on urging Americans to mask up and get their shots, which many saw as measured, but as usual, not all Americans were on board.

The speech comes just days after the President's vaccine mandates were shut down by several courts, severely setting back his plans to tackle the pandemic. In fact, mandates have become so hated an idea, that the Californian city of Oroville decided to declare itself a "constitutional republic" just to avoid them. Masks too remain deeply unpopular, especially in schools where students remain largely unvaxxed.


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The speech comes just days after the Omicron variant surged to become the most dominant form of Covid-19 in the US, worrying experts about another winter surge. As of December 20, the US recorded over 302,000 cases with a weekly average of over 147,000, with deaths also slowly rising. Desperate to avoid further lockdowns, here's what the President had to say.

U.S. President Joe Biden departs after speaking about the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the State Dining Room of the White House, December 21, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)


Getting vaccinated 'your patriotic duty'

The President offered a two-prong strategy in his speech. For the unvaxxed, he warned, "If you are not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned." He added, "Almost everyone who has died from COVID-19 in the past many months has been unvaccinated." He told those who have gotten their jabs, "you have much, much less reason to worry." He urged everyone, whether vaccinated or not to mask up in indoor settings, but also said only the vaccinated could "feel comfortable celebrating Christmas and the holidays as you planned it."

Biden called getting jabbed "your patriotic duty", and even applauded former President Donald Trump for getting his booster shot. He then outlined further steps the government was taking, from adding new vaccination sites to expanded testing. He also announced 1,000 troops would be deployed to hospitals to help with the surge of Covid-19 patients. 

'Admin will do anything to control the American people'

Responding to the speech, the GOP was quick to slam the President. South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem tweeted, "About that speech….This is all about power. Not science. Not facts. The Biden administration will do and say ANYTHING to control the American people with fear." Taking note of his frequent coughing, one user commented, "Biden coughing through this speech does not inspire confidence." A former Trump admin official said, "Biden's dark and incoherent speech makes Jimmy Carter's "malaise" speech look like a walk in the park." Rep. Ronny Jackson decided to bring the border crisis into the debate, tweeting, "Why didn’t Biden mention the border during his COVID speech? You’d think if he was serious about “stopping the spread” he would’ve addressed the thousands of positive illegals crossing our border. This man is the most inarticulate, uninformed person in the White House."






Others though praised the President for his calm and confident tone. "Biden's speech on the Omicron Variant was one that future graduate students will probably at length. He communicated relatively complex, ever-evolving science and broke it down for a lay audience. It was modest, understated, human - a speech 45 could have never given," one user tweeted. Another joked, "I’d rather listen to a Biden speech on repeat for a full day than do a whole home renovation with my wife again." Another noted, "That was a great speech. It’s so good to listen to a President talk calmly, confidently, and with compassion."