The Biden administration Monday claimed that Republicans, not Democrats, insisted on locking the country down during COVID-19 and it was the Democrats, not the Republicans, who pushed to re-open the country.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre made the claim during a press briefing, saying that when Joe Biden began occupying the White House, the country was locked down, there was no plan for COVID-19 and people were not getting vaccinated. 

“And let me also remind the American people of what was happening in January of 2020 — January 20th of — or 21 of 2020 — 2021, which was that American businesses, small businesses were shutting down,” said Jean-Pierre, appearing to blame the lockdowns on the Trump administration. “I just talked about schools; only 46 percent of schools were shut down.  There was not a real, comprehensive COVID response and making sure that people got shots in their arms.” 

Before occupying the White House, Biden promised to complete a million vaccinations a day, a goal the media reported as ambitious. However, President Trump had already achieved that goal by the time he vacated the Oval Office. Still, the White House claimed “there was no vaccine available” when Biden took power. 

“And because of the American Rescue Plan,” Jean-Pierre continued, “which is something that Republicans refused — refused to work on, refused to vote on — you know, the American Rescue Plan got those schools open, got those small businesses open again, and really made — made — made us — and put us in a place where the economy turned back on.” 

However, the American Rescue Plan, which promised to grow the economy by over 10 million jobs, was a grave disappointment. According to Americans for Prosperity, the economy only grew by 6.1 million jobs, less than if Congress had rejected the American Rescue Plan altogether as Republicans had proposed. 

Part of this has been attributed to the stimulus package paying many Americans more than they would have earned if they were working, which was seen as paying them not to work. One IHOP branch in Wasilla, Arkansas, posted a sign blaming Biden for their hiring troubles.

“Due to the fact that Biden gave out way to [sic] much free money and nobody wants to work anymore. We are forced to reduce our hours during the week,” the restaurant wrote.

In March 2020 Biden proposed a national lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. In August 2020 he proposed it again. 

Trump, in the meantime, refused to issue lockdown orders, instead leaving it up to state governors. 

All 24 Democratic governors at the time imposed sweeping lockdowns, destroying small businesses which account for 62% of jobs. The seven governors who refused to issue stay-at-home orders were Republican. 

When the smoke cleared, 40% of small businesses had been destroyed. 

But at a Democratic National Committee event Monday, Biden blamed it on Trump. 

“On [Trump’s] watch, literally hundreds of thousands of small businesses were closing,” Biden said at Democratic National Committee Headquarters yesterday. “They make up 50 percent of the economy — these small businesses.”