President Biden sought to clarify what his administration means by promising to open schools in the first 100 days of his presidency, insisting that “the goal will be five days a week.”
The big picture: Last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that Biden’s definition for open schools was in-classroom instruction by a teacher “at least one day a week.”
Tuesday night, in a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Biden tried to reset the record, and appeared to blame his communications team.
- “No that's not true. That's what was reported. That’s not true,” the president said, when asked about the one-day-a-week definition. “That was a mistake in the communications."
Why it matters: Republicans have pounced on Psaki's definition of open schools and accused Biden of backpedaling on his goal of reopening the majority of schools by the end of April.
- Tuesday, Biden also clarified why he changed his target from elementary, middle and high schools to just K-8.
- "What I am talking about is, I said opening the majority of schools in K-8th grade, because they are the easiest to open, the most needed to be open because of the impact on children and families having to stay home."
- "I think that we should be vaccinating teachers. We should move them up in the hierarchy," Biden added.
Flashback: Two weeks ago, some White House political advisers began to privately warn that Biden might not be able to meet his originally stated objective, Axios reported.
- Republicans are trying to channel some suburban frustrations about virtual schooling into political anger, trying to cast Biden as a pawn of the teachers unions.