The White House repeatedly reassured Americans on Monday there was no gas shortage in the United States after the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack before acknowledging supply problems hours later.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki brought Homeland Security advisor Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall and Deputy National Security Advisor for Cyber and Emerging Technologies Anne Neuberger to reassure Americans the Biden administration was on top of the crisis, urging Americans to remain calm.
“Right now, there is not a supply shortage,” Sherwood-Randall told reporters at the daily press briefing.
Psaki also noted during the briefing that, “at this point in time, I would just reiterate: We don’t see a supply issue.”
President Joe Biden spoke about the issue later, reassuring Americans he was acting to “mitigate any impact on our fuel supply” with preparations for additional steps if needed.
But as reports of gas shortages emerged and North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in the state, the White House admitted Monday evening there was a problem.
“We are monitoring supply shortages in parts of the Southeast and are evaluating every action the Administration can take to mitigate the impact as much as possible,” she wrote in a statement sent to reporters.
First-hand reports of gas shortages on the East Coast emerged on social media Monday evening and Tuesday morning as drivers were alarmed to discover gas stations without fuel.