3:12 P.M. EDT
Q    Mr. President, what’s your message to Americans on the new variant?

Q    Are you concerned about the variant, sir?

THE PRESIDENT:  You’ve already gotten my release.

Q    Yes.

THE PRESIDENT:  I’ve decided that we’re going to be cautious — make sure there is no travel to and from South Africa and six other countries in that region and — except for American citizens who are able to come back.

But we don’t know a lot about the variant except that it is of great concern; it seems to spread rapidly. 
And we’re — I spent about a half hour this morning with my COVID team, led by Dr. Fauci.  And so that was the decision we made.

Q    What about the markets dropping, sir?  The markets have dropped significantly today.  What’s your response to that?

THE PRESIDENT:  Expected.  They always do when there’s something — when COVID arises. 

Q    But does it worry you at all?

THE PRESIDENT:  Not at all.

Q    Why not?

THE PRESIDENT:  Because why would it?

Q    Sir, why not an immediate ban?  Why not an immediate ban?  It’s going into effect on Monday, but why not do it now, like other countries have done?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, because that was the recommendation coming from my medical team.

Q    What do you say to questions about whether bans create an incentive for countries not to come forward with new variants if you’re penalized for doing so?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’d say that’s ridiculous, because you can’t hide the variants.  It’s not like someone could hide the fact that there’s a new variant with people getting sick more quickly.

Q    Do Americans need to be more careful now going into the holiday season?  You’ve been telling people to —

THE PRESIDENT:  Look — I have.  Here’s the deal: Every American who has not been vaccinated should be responsible and be vaccinated, from age five years and up — number one.
Number two, everyone eligible for the booster shot should get the booster shot immediately upon being eligible.  That is the minimum that everyone should be doing. 
And I — you know, we always talk about whether this is about freedom, but I think it’s a patriotic responsibility to do that.

Thank you.

Q    Mr. President, have you asked the Fed to singularly focus on inflation, sir, especially with the new appointments?

THE PRESIDENT:  I’ve talked to the Fed about a whole range of things, from monetary policy to inflation.  And I have confidence that the appointees that I’ve made — and I’m going to have — (coughs) — excuse me — three more — are going to reflect that — that concern.

Q    Are you worried about the situation in the Ukraine and the talk of a — of a possible coup?

THE PRESIDENT:  I am concerned.  Look, we support Ukraine’s territorial integrity.  We support Ukraine’s ability to govern itself.  And we object to any- — anything remotely approaching what’s been talked (inaudible).

Q    Have you talked to Zelenskyy or Putin?  Are you going to?

THE PRESIDENT:  In all probability. 

Thank you.

MS. JEAN-PIERRE:  Thanks, everybody.

Q    Mr. President, are you thinking of any new mandates, since your others are caught in court?

THE PRESIDENT:  No.  Not — not at the moment. 

Thank you.

3:15 P.M. EDT

Stay Connected

Sign Up

We'll be in touch with the latest information on how President Biden and his administration are working for the American people, as well as ways you can get involved and help our country build back better.

Opt in to send and receive text messages from President Biden.

Scroll to Top Scroll to Top