by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during Monday’s White House press briefing that President Biden’s vow to “shut down coal plants all over America” was “twisted” by the press.
Addressing the crowd at a rally in San Diego County on Friday, Biden suggested that coal plants should be shuttered because they are no longer economically viable.
“We’re going to be shutting these [coal] plants down all across America and having wind and solar power, also providing tax credits to help families buy energy efficient appliances, whether it’s your refrigerator or your coffee maker, for solar panels on your home, weatherize your home, things that save an average, experts say, a minimum of $500 a year for the average family,” Biden said.
Asked about the comment Monday, Jean-Pierre insisted that Biden was merely observing an economic reality and not vowing to ensure the destruction of America’s coal industry.
“As it has been from its earliest days as an energy superpower, America is once again in the midst of an energy transition and the president is determined to make sure this transition helps all Americans,” Jean-Pierre said.
That’s certainly not how Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) interpreted Biden’s comments. In a scathing statement released Saturday, Manchin called the remarks “outrageous … offensive and disgusting” and accused Biden of “ignor[ing] the severe economic pain the American people are feeling because of rising energy costs.”
The clarification comes at a precarious moment for the Democratic Party. Against the backdrop of rising inflation and energy prices, the momentum has swung notably towards the Republican Party as voters have soured on the Biden administration’s handling of worsening economic conditions.
Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio are home to dozens of coal plants and Biden’s announcement may spook crucial voters. …