Biden White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was utterly unprepared to give an update when a reporter asked her at Monday’s briefing about the administration’s effort to fix the months-long nationwide infant formula shortage. Jean-Pierre vamped as she flipped through her cheat sheet book for several uncomfortable seconds before admitting she had nothing but that there had been some announcements last week but she said she has no idea what they were.
Reporter: “But first, um, what is the White House, what is the latest update the White House has received on the current infant formula situation across the nation?”
KJP: “Yeah, let me see if I have anything new for you on that. Um…I think it’s been a couple of days since we have asked, we have been asked that question! (Long pause while flipping through notebook in vain) Okay…I don’t have anything new. I know we made some announcements last week. Uh, I just, I just don’t have them in front of me. But if you want to come back and we’ll, we’ll talk through uh, the things that we have been able to do in the past–the most recent activities that we’ve done.”
Karine Jean-Pierre on Biden's (lack of) progress addressing the baby formula shortage: "Uhhh…. I know we made some announcements last week, I just don't have them in front of me." pic.twitter.com/Idd6gFQYOG
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) June 13, 2022
Jean-Pierre, who took over from Jen Psaki one month ago today, is woefully unprepared for the briefings–relying heavily on reading scripted answers from a notebook that often times bear little resemblance to the questions asked but gets her out of jams with sympathetic reporters on even the most basic questions. Not having a ready answer about the latest on the Biden administration’s efforts addressing the infant formula shortage is not just a sign of unpreparedness by Jean-Pierre, but also by White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield and Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain. Biden’s approval numbers being mired in the low 30s are most assuredly a team effort.
Just last Friday the White House issued this update that Jean-Pierre didn’t have with her today and couldn’t recite off the top of her head like a pro should.
Delta Air Lines will carry more than 3.2 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of Kendamil infant formula
Today, President Biden is announcing that his Administration has arranged the sixth Operation Fly Formula flight. Delta Air Lines will transport Kendamil formula free of charge from Heathrow Airport in London to Logan Airport in Boston and Detroit Metro Airport between June 20 and June 24.
These Operation Fly Formula flights donated by Delta will contain more than 212,000 pounds or approximately 3.2 million 8-ounce bottle equivalents of Kendamil infant formula and will begin shipping on June 20.
The Kendamil Organic and Classic formula, made available through Operation Fly Formula, will be distributed and available for purchase at select U.S. retailers nationwide, as well as online. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is exercising enforcement discretion so that Kendamil can import infant formula under the Kendamil brand. Kendamil will export up to at least 2 million cans of Kendamil infant formula – the equivalent of at least 54 million 8-ounce bottles to the United States. Parents can learn more about Kendamil infant formula at https://kendamil.com/ and visit the United States website at https://us.kendamil.com/ for updates and information on retail locations.
President Biden launched Operation Fly Formula to speed up the importation of safe infant formula and start getting more formula to stores as soon as possible. Under Operation Fly Formula, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the General Services Administration (GSA), and the Department of Defense (DOD) are partnering to pick up overseas infant formula that meets U.S. health and safety standards so it can get to store shelves faster. Yesterday, Operation Fly Formula flights landed in Texas with 1.6 million bottle equivalents of Nestlé NAN SupremePro Stage 1 infant formula, and the first shipment of 3.7 million bottle equivalents of Kendamil infant formula landed in Virginia aboard a donated United Airlines flight.
In addition, the Biden Administration has taken a number of other important actions to ensure there is enough safe infant formula for families, including invoking the Defense Production Act, entering into a consent agreement between the FDA to reopen Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis facility, and issuing FDA guidance so that major formula manufacturers can safely import formula that is not currently being produced for the U.S. market.
Operation Fly Formula is not exactly the Berlin Airlift for America’s starving infants and special needs children. This is only the sixth mission since Operation Fly Formulas was announced nearly a month ago on May 18. Biden also invoked the Defense Production Act for the formula shortages.