President-elect Joe Biden received his second dose of a coronavirus vaccine on Monday -- warning that the pandemic will worsen before it improves and criticizing Republican lawmakers who refused to wear masks while hiding from a mob at the US Capitol last week.
Biden told reporters he was “appalled” to learn that some Republican members of Congress refused to wear masks while hiding with colleagues from a mob that overran the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers counted Electoral College votes.
Representative Bonnie Coleman, a New Jersey Democrat, announced Monday on Twitter that she had tested positive for coronavirus infection after sheltering “with several colleagues who refused to wear masks.”
“It’s irresponsible,” Biden said. “It’s not a political issue, it’s an issue of public safety and it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
He added that 3,000 American deaths per day from Covid-19 is “beyond the pale.”
Biden is due to unveil a proposal for another coronavirus aid package on Thursday, and will meet remotely with his advisers later Monday as he plots a plan to speed up vaccinations and pass a relief bill.
“My number one priority is getting vaccine into people’s arms, like we just did today, as rapidly as we can,” Biden said. “It’s going to be hard, it’s not going to be easy, but we can get it done.”
Biden said he has asked whether lawmakers can “bifurcate” handling an impeachment trial along with confirmation of his cabinet and passage of a new aid package.
“My priority is to get, first and foremost, a stimulus bill passed,” he said. “Could you go half a day on dealing with impeachment and half a day getting my people nominated and confirmed in the Senate, as well as moving on the package? So, that’s my hope and expectation.” He said he hasn’t yet been told if that’s possible.