Vice president Joe Biden said today he would tell his family members not to use subways in the U.S. as the swine flu outbreak spread to 11 states and forced school closures amid confirmation of the first U.S. death.
“I would not be at this point … [be] suggesting they ride the subway,” Biden said when asked whether he would advise family members to use public transportation.
Biden made his comments during a brief interview on NBC’s “Today” show during an interview with Matt Lauer.
The vice president said if one person sneezes on a plane “it goes all the way through the aircraft.”
Biden said the advice to his family differs from that of the federal government’s to the public because, “That’s me.”
After the interview, co-host Meredith Vieira and NBC’s Chuck Todd discussed Biden’s statement, wondering if the vice president really had intended to caution the American public to stay off public transportation and airplanes. They noted his comments seemed to contradict public statements by other high-ranked White House officials.
By saying what he said, of course, Biden made it sound as if he has no confidence in the statements made by the federal government on this issue. He basically announced that the Obama Administration’s advice on how to avoid swine flu was not good enough for members of his own family. I wonder how many other people will reach the same conclusions when it comes to their families and needlessly panic as a consequence.
I actually applaud the Obama Administration and its efforts to try to keep people calm over this issue. Too bad Biden has decided to shatter the calm by opening his mouth. But that’s what he does best, isn’t it?