Media critics are not buying the Biden White House’s “startling” efforts to blame Trump for COVID school woes

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The Biden administration is using “revisionist history” to blame former President Trump for COVID-era school closures that are hurting American children, according to media viewers, who remember Democrats were the ones to blame during the Pandemic petrified of personal learning.

“It’s really quite surprising for the White House press secretary to blame the Trump administration for closed schools during the pandemic. School closures were then prompted by a general fear of the Covid virus, largely driven by teachers’ unions and even medical experts,” DePauw University professor and media commentator Jeffrey McCall told Fox News Digital.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre last week posed a question about the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which shows a sharp decline in reading and math scores among nine-year-old students during the COVID pandemic. A reporter wanted to know what the Biden administration was up to and asked if the White House was to blame after not pushing for the schools to open earlier.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Thursday, September 1, 2022.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

According to the report, the average score of nine-year-old students fell by five points in reading and seven points in math in 2022 compared to 2020 — the largest drop in average reading score since 1990 and the first point drop in math. Jean-Pierre quickly blamed the previous government.

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“Let’s go back to where we were not long ago when this president came into this administration, how poor the response to the pandemic has been, how … in less than six months our schools have gone from 46% open to almost all Open full time. That was this president’s job,” she said.

“That was the job of the Democrats, even though the Republicans didn’t vote for America’s bailout plan, which poured $130 billion into the schools to have the ventilation, to have the tutoring and the teachers, and to be able to hire more teachers and it was because of the work that this administration was doing,” Jean-Pierre continued. “We were in a place where… schools weren’t open, the economy was shut down, businesses were shut down.”

Jean-Pierre then said the NAEP figures showed how “mismanaged” the pandemic was and how “the effects of that mismanagement” were affecting children’s progress.

Conservative radio host Jason Rantz couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“Karine Jean-Pierre’s revisionist story is so intriguing that one wonders if she read from the wrong script in her binder,” Rantz told Fox News Digital, adding that reports showing “the devastating effects of the school closures of the Democrats on Kids” are devastating and the White House knows it.

“So they’re going to act like Trump didn’t fight to keep schools open while Democrats and unions tried to keep them closed longer,” Rantz said. “They know it’s going to hurt them, so they’re going to whirl around and lie because they’re confident that left-wing media will give them a pass.”

Former President Trump has regularly called for schools to reopen during the COVID pandemic.

Former President Trump has regularly called for schools to reopen during the COVID pandemic.
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, file)

William A. Jacobson, a professor at Cornell Law School, believes that Democrats “have responsibility for the tremendous harm being done to children by the ongoing school closures” and that the Biden administration is being dishonest.

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“The White House has not only declared war on the ‘MAGA Republicans,’ it has also declared war on the truth,” Jacobson told Fox News Digital.

“Blaming Republicans for keeping schools closed isn’t just gaslighting, it’s a reversal of reality. Democrats and their supporting teachers’ unions led efforts to keep schools closed, and when they couldn’t achieve full closures, only to reopen under strict masking requirements to small children,” Jacobson continued. “Republicans and the parenting movement were first demonized when they tried to reopen schools and let kids be kids, and then a second time through a Biden White House disinformation campaign.”

Political pundit Stephen L. Miler shared a video of Jean-Pierre’s response, urging Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler to “get to work” before sharing a compilation of it Mainstream media headlines that contradicts the press secretary.

Politico reported in 2020 that “Trump wants to reopen schools” and “has ramped up a push to get kids back in the classroom” to get the economy moving again. The New York Times published a similar article in July 2020, headlined “Trump wants schools to reopen.

Miller also spotted a CNN opinion piece titled “The Very Clear Dangers of Donald Trump’s Push to Reopen Schools” and a Washington Post article titled “Trump Urges, Threatens to Fully Reopen Schools.”

The New York Times also ran an article in August 2020 titled “How Trump’s Push to Reopen Schools Backfired,” which noted that distrust of Trump and his motives reinforced some educators’ belief that in-person instruction is unsafe was what helped fuel union opposition.

McCall believes schools that reopened after Trump left “have less to do with Biden’s policy initiatives and more to do with the trajectory of the virus itself, as well as changing public sentiment.”

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“Jean-Pierre’s brazen evasion of the administration’s responsibility for declining test scores shows again her tendency to rhetorically sidestep issues rather than deal with them directly,” McCall said.

The head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, has been known to push for closures but has not faced criticism from most major media outlets.

The head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, has been known to push for closures but has not faced criticism from most major media outlets.
(Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The head of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, has been known to push for closures but has not faced criticism from most major media outlets since the NAEP report was released.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board said Weingarten “failed” the pandemic, but it mostly avoided the grief of the likes of CNN and MSNBC.

Despite getting a pass from mainstream media, the WSJ editors noted that Weingarten “pushed the closure as long as it could before parents revolted” and “teacher unions have been demanding that schools remain closed even when they are in stay open in Europe”.

“You failed the pandemic, Randi, and set America’s children back for years,” the board wrote.

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Fox News’ Bradford Betz contributed to this report.

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