Israel is erupting, Americans are utterly confused when masks should be worn for COVID-19 protection and then there are the agita-inducing long lines for gasoline.
And that was just Tuesday.
A lot has changed in a matter of days.
Friday was supposed to be a glorious day for Biden. The latest employment numbers were set to be released, and economists were gushing that a million new jobs had likely been created in April by exuberant employers and their newly vaccinated workers.
His team no doubt was prepared to unleash Biden to perform a little victory dance at the White House celebrating the stupendous number. But the show had to be hastily revamped when the actual tally came in nearly three-quarters-of-a-million jobs lower than expected; just 266,000 jobs created and unemployment unexpectedly rising to 6.1%.
“You might think we should be disappointed,” Biden said, which was indeed something people might think. But the American Rescue Plan he signed into law in March “was designed to help us over the course of a year — not 60 days,” he said.
Far from being a disappointment, a jobs report that included 734,000 jobs fewer than expected was good news.
“Today, there is more evidence our economy is moving in the right direction,” Biden said. “This is progress. This is a testament to our new strategy,” he said. “We’ve got work to do, to state the obvious, we have work to do.”
You might think.
The jobs figures were just the first in a series of out-of-nowhere body blows the president was to be pilloried with during a remarkable five days of bad developments that stretched from Israel to the Mexican border and up the East Coast via the Colonial Pipeline.
After delivering a few remarks Friday, taking in the “Weekly Economic Briefing” and meeting with his “Jobs Cabinet,” the president knocked off at 5:45 pm and headed for the peacefully wooded Catoctin Mountain Park, where the presidential refuge Camp David awaited in Maryland.
He was ready for a rest, but the world wasn’t ready to give him one.
By Saturday morning, the Colonial Pipeline, which transports nearly half of the East Coast’s fuel supplies up from Texas, had been turned off, the victim of a ransomware cyberattack by a group of nasty hackers who, by the way, might be working with the Russian government. Biden was “briefed” on the situation Saturday morning.
By late Monday, more than one in 20 gas stations in Virginia was out of fuel. Tuesday, governors throughout the Southeast were declaring states of emergency, and the Biden administration was begging drivers not to hoard gasoline.
Meantime, Palestinians had begun violently clashing with Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, an escalation of tensions that had been simmering and occasionally boiling over for weeks. Hamas began launching rocket attacks into Israel, which responded by bombing Gaza.
Back in Washington, Republicans began accusing Biden of tilting too far toward the Palestinians while failing to at least verbally sock it to Hamas. From the other side, leftists in his own party hit the White House for supposedly coddling Israel, with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., accusing Biden of “enabling” Israel with foreign aid.
By Tuesday, an echo of the violence had spread to the streets of New York, where there were dustups between pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian supporters in front of the Israeli consulate.
As new crises broke out all over the place, there were searing reminders that an old one was still festering.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed Tuesday that migrant encounters jumped yet again this past April: over 178,000 in all, nearly a tenfold increase from 2020 and still above levels seen in the 2019 surge at the Mexico border.