Democrats got another reason to worry about midterm election prospects when CNN grilled Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo Sunday about inflation.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper noted that, like Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, she made the wrong call about inflation last year. His comments came after he had questioned her about why the Biden administration dropped the ball on the baby formula issue. Tapper declared the problem was identified as early as October 2021.
The anchor asked the Commerce Secretary why the administration seemed to always be putting out fires instead of getting ahead of issues and dealing with them before they ballooned into crisis. He highlighted inflation as another serious issue that seemed to be underestimated by this administration.
“President Biden this week said he didn’t learn about the severity of the infant formula shortage until April,” Tapper said. “But problems first emerged back at the Abbott plant back in October of 2021. An industry executive said they knew how bad this could get when the plant closed in February.” Tapper asked Raimondo when she learned baby formula shortages were a problem.
I first learned about it a couple of months ago,” Raimondo declared before admitting, “probably April.”
“I’m not involved in the administration’s response here, I should say,” she added, “but I think they’re doing a very good job.”
Tapper switched to an issue on most Americans’ minds when he asked her about the Biden administration efforts to tame it.
“As recently as six months ago, you were calling inflation a ‘short-term problem,’ not a long-term problem,” he said. Tapper noted Raimondo and Yellen both got that wrong before the commerce secretary defended the administration’s response.
“So, clearly, Americans are struggling with inflation, but I don’t think anyone predicted Putin’s war in Ukraine or various other things that have happened that have been unexpected,” Raimondo said. “I still think we will get inflation under control. We just have to stick with it and see it through.”
The Republican National Committee posted a video of the exchange on its Twitter account Sunday.
“Well, all due respect, Madam Secretary, [economist and former Treasury Secretary] Larry Summers, a year ago, was saying the Biden administration was flooding too much money into the economy and he was concerned about inflation,” Tapper exclaimed. “And Biden administration officials said that Larry Summers was wrong.”
“And it turned out Larry Summers was right.”
“I don’t really agree with that characterization,” Raimondo responded. “Look, the reality is, I was just in Europe a couple of weeks ago. Gas there in France is $10 a gallon. And they didn’t have an American Rescue Plan like we did.”
She neglected to mention that European countries use Imperial gallons, which contains about 25 percent more fuel. Plus, those countries add up to 75 percent tax at the pump. So, it’s not really comparing apples to apples.
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