Faced with falling approval ratings and a number of crises plaguing his presidency — from inflation to rising COVID-19 cases — President Joe Biden is seeking a stronger message.
NBC News reports that the president is seeking a shift in tone and could be looking to shake things up at the White House (though there’s no sign that the administration is considering replacing any high-level officials any time soon).
Overall, as one person close to the president told NBC News, “Biden is frustrated. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.”
Among the mounting frustrations, anonymous White House staffers tell the outlet, is that the president wasn’t notified about the ongoing baby formula shortage weeks before Americans began to see empty store shelves.
While the shortages of some formulas first emerged late last year amid the pandemic, they’ve worsened in recent months due to challenges with the supply chain, product recalls by some American manufacturers and inflation.
Last month, Biden announced that he was invoking the Defense Production Act in an effort to improve formula production in the U.S.
“I know parents all across the country are worried about finding enough infant formula to feed their babies. As a parent and as a grandparent, I know just how stressful that is,” Biden said as he addressed the shortage in a video shared on the President’s official Twitter page.
He explained that The Defense Production Act “gives the government the ability to require suppliers to direct needed resources to infant formula manufacturers before any other customer who may have ordered that good.”
Also in his message, he rolled out Operation Fly Formula, which will “speed up the import of infant formula” to provide local stores with more of the much-needed product.
Among the president’s other frustrations, NBC News claims, is a pattern of his staff clarifying comments after he says them.
With frustrations mounting, poll numbers have fallen — adding to the issues brewing in the White House.
“He’s now lower than Trump, and he’s really twisted about it,” one person close to the White House told NBC News.
Recent poll numbers — taken just five months ahead of the November midterm elections — indicate the president, and Democrats overall, face an uphill battle in the months ahead. Perhaps in response to that, the White House this week announced a renewed focus on the American economy, with Biden saying his “top priority” is “addressing inflation in order to transition from historic recovery to a steady growth that works for American families.”
In an op-ed published Monday in the Wall Street Journal, Biden worked to reassure Americans, noting that, “The U.S. is in a better economic position than almost any other country.”
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It will continue to grow, he added, though that might mean growing pains.
“During this transition, growth will look different. We will likely see fewer record job-creation numbers, but this won’t be cause for concern … Things should also look different from the decades before the pandemic, when too often we had low growth, low wage gains, and an economy that worked best for the wealthiest Americans,” he wrote.
He continued: “The economic policy choices we make today will determine whether a sustained recovery that benefits all Americans is possible. I will work with anyone — Democrat, Republican, or independent — willing to have an open and honest discussion that delivers real solutions for the American people.”