CNN’s John Berman Grills WH Spox Symone Sanders on Unvaccinated Teachers Going Back to School: ‘It’s Not a Trick Question’


CNN’s John Berman pressed White House spokesperson Symone Sanders to clarify the Biden administration’s position on whether teachers need to be vaccinated from the coronavirus before schools can reopen across the country.

Sanders’ New Day appearance comes on the heels of President Joe Biden’s Tuesday night town hall on CNN, during which the president said it was a miscommunication that he only wants schools to reopen for in-person learning one day a week. The latest comments follow several muddled efforts by the White House to describe their plan for schools.

Berman kicked off his interview with Sanders by asking “does the president think that K through 8 schools can reopen even if teachers have not been vaccinated?

Sanders — the chief spokesperson for Vice President Kamala Harris — responded by stressing that Biden believes “the majority of K through 8 schools will be able to be reopened” by the end of April. While she spoke of measures to increase school safety, Sanders did not directly address the question about unvaccinated teachers, and Berman took notice.

“It’s not a trick question,” he said. “I feel like you guys have treated it like a trick question. People just want to know what the White House position is on whether or not teachers have to be vaccinated for kids to return safely to school?”

Berman continued by noting that CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has said that teacher vaccinations aren’t a necessity for reopening schools. Sanders replied that the administration believes teachers should get prioritized access to the vaccine, but Berman noted that that isn’t the same thing as asking whether vaccination is absolutely essential.

“The question is ‘is it safe for teachers to go back to school?'” Berman said. “That’s a very specific question in this case. I don’t understand why it’s a hard question to answer. It may be that you want every teacher to be vaccinated. It may be the answer is, yeah, teachers should — if they can — be vaccinated before they return to school, but it’s not necessary.”

Berman kept trying to ask the question, but Sanders kept walking around it, so he noted that he was “not gonna get a yes or no” from her.

Watch above, via CNN.

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