by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
More Democrats are speaking out against President Joe Biden’s policies on everything from immigration to mask mandates as his poll numbers sink to new lows.
The latest example of Biden’s out-of-touch approach to issues central to the voters who will decide his party’s fate came this week when the White House initially condemned a court ruling that ended the federal mask mandate on planes and trains.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki panned the Monday ruling as “disappointing” and urged travelers to continue wearing masks in the air. Her comments came just weeks after eight Democratic senators voted with Republicans to reverse the federal transportation mask requirement, which has become politically toxic for COVID-19-weary people of all political stripes.
The dissenters included Democratic senators facing tough reelection battles this fall, including New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan, Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, and Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
Psaki seemingly stood by the White House’s opposition Tuesday despite the positive public reaction that proliferated on social media as airlines told passengers they could shed their face coverings.
“Public health decisions shouldn’t be made by the courts,” Psaki said aboard Air Force One. “They should be made by public health experts.”
Biden has fought the perception that other Democrats have led the national shift away from a wartime footing on the pandemic. Blue-state governors began reversing vaccine and mask requirements weeks before the Biden administration started winding down its push for mandates nationwide, moving slowly to respond to polls that showed COVID-19 mandates were becoming deeply unpopular.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, for example, criticized Biden’s unsuccessful efforts to establish an employer vaccine mandate as “a problem” as far back as December, before the effort was ended by a Supreme Court ruling. Whitmer faces a difficult reelection bid this year and broke with Biden after months of pushing strict COVID-19 policies.