President Joe Biden admitted on that he wasn’t made aware of the severity of the baby formula shortage the closure of the Abbott Nutrition plant caused until April.
His comments came after formula manufacturers stated they knew from the time the plant halted production in mid-February how bad the consequences might get.
“From the moment that that recall was announced we reached out immediately to retail partners like Target and Walmart to tell them this is what we think will happen,” Rickett senior vice president Robert Cleveland said at the White House roundtable meeting.
“They did [know], but I didn’t,” Biden clarified when pressed by reporters after the meeting.
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National Economic Council Director Brian Deese elaborated on the President’s comments in an appearance on CNN’s The Lead following the meeting on Wednesday night, stating that Abbott Nutrition was slow to work with the government and take steps needed to reopen. White House officials had already been working on the issue, but when it became evident that the plant would not start production again as quickly as they had hoped, Biden was notified.
“At that point … [Biden] directed us to use all the available tools we had available to address them,” Deese said.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre fielded many questions from reporters regarding the administration’s response to the shortage.
She reported that the White House had been working on combatting the recall since day one.
Asked if it were possible that Biden didn’t know even though they were working on it the entire time, Jean-Pierre said, “I mean, the President has multiple issues and crises at the moment. When he walked into the administration, he talked about the multiple crises that we needed to deal with as a country.”
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