President Joe Biden made yet another gaffe Wednesday, announcing that the latest international shipment of baby formula from the White House’s “Operation Fly Formula” initiative would carry just “3.7 bottles of the formula.”
At the beginning of a meeting with major U.S. manufacturers of baby formula Wednesday, Biden gave short prepared remarks touting his administration’s ongoing response to the shortage. After noting two previous shipments that had already arrived, Biden stammered through the announcement of two more shipments from the United Kingdom and Australia that were arranged by the White House, including a 3.7 million bottle shipment from U.K.-based producer Kendal. But Biden flubbed the announcement, saying that the shipment would carry 3.7 bottles instead of 3.7 million.
“We’re here today to hear from these manufacturers and to get updates on the progress we’re making together,” Biden said. “The shortage of baby formula is due to the closure back in February of one of Abbott’s infant formula plants. We needed to take immediate action to stop contaminated—” he continued before repeatedly correcting himself. “We needed to take immediate action to stop contaminate— contaminated formula from hitting store shelves and putting American children at risk.”
Biden then touted the Food and Drug Administration’s reaction to the shortage, claiming that the FDA “acted quickly” to bring Abbott’s plant back into compliance with federal regulations. “But it takes time” to restart production, Biden said, noting that Abbott accounts for nearly 40% of infant formula sold in the U.S. The president went on to recount the steps the administration took to attempt to address the shortage, first lauding his invocation of the Defense Production Act to deliver ingredients to producers.
“Second, we launched Operation Fly Formula, the major effort to airlift infant formula that meets American health standards and safety standards. Today I am proud to say that because of these flights, high-quality formula is already on the way to American shelves. To date, we’ve already conducted two flights with 1.5 million 8-ounce bottles [worth] of Nestle and Gerber’s hydro— excuse me, hypoallergenic formulas for children with severe allergies. Without Operation Fly Formula … it would have taken … three weeks to get this product to the United States. Because of our actions, it took three days … and today, I’m announcing plans for a third flight with Bubbs Australia. … This flight would bring 4.6 million bottles of infant formula, and pave the way for up to 27.5 million total bottles of Bubbs infant formula to be supplied to American families in the weeks ahead.”
Finally, Biden touted the FDA’s move to fast-track approvals for more imports of baby formula from other countries. He also spoke of a move by United Airlines to donate flights to deliver the formula from the U.K. “Today, we’re announcing that United Airlines has agreed to offer cargo space for Kendal Nutricare, for the delivery of 3.7 bottles of the formula, here in the States,” Biden said. “I want to thank United Airlines for partnering with us to get this done. They’re doing it on their own.”
Biden: “Today we’re announcing that the United Airlines has agreed to offer cargo space — for the delivery of 3.7 bottles of baby formula.” pic.twitter.com/TuqrrPfrGT
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) June 1, 2022
United Airlines will fly begin flying the first shipments from Heathrow Airport to airports around the U.S. on June 9. The formula will be available at Target stores around the country soon afterward. The shipments from Australia will begin on June 9 and 11.