White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farah said President Donald Trump‘s promise to have a coronavirus vaccine available by Election Day was “arbitrary.”
“We’ve got nearly half a dozen vaccines that are in Phase Three clinical trials, which is record time to get it there for a novel virus like we’re dealing with,” she said.
“We’re still highly confident we’ll have one by the end of the year and be prepared to deploy it to a hundred million Americans,” she added. “His goal has never — Election Day is kind of an arbitrary deadline.”
During last Thursday’s presidential debate, Trump said that he is depending on the military to distribute vaccines that he says will be ready by the end of the year as a result of Operation Warp Speed (a pivot from when he said a vaccine would be available before the general election).
To that, his rival, Democrat Joe Biden, pointed out that Trump has not taken into account opinions from his advisors, including members of his Cabinet, who have disputed that a timeline as proposed by the president would even be possible.
“This [is] the same fellow who told you that, don’t worry, we’re going to end this by the summer. We’re about to go into a dark winter, a dark winter, and he has no clear plan and there’s no prospect that there’s going to be a vaccine available for the majority of the American people before the middle of next year,” Biden retorted.
Earlier this week, the president accused media outlets of weaponizing the coronavirus pandemic to hurt his chances of being re-elected.
“They will talk about nothing else until November 4th., when the Election will be (hopefully!) over,” he claimed. “Then the talk will be how low the death rate is, plenty of hospital rooms, & many tests of young people.”
The president’s tweet comes after the White House science office listed “ending the COVID-19 pandemic” among his accomplishments during his first term. The Trump administration said it “has taken decisive actions to engage scientists and health professionals in academia, industry, and government to understand, treat, and defeat the disease.”
Case numbers across the United States are higher than ever per John Hopkins University data. More than 80,000 new cases were recorded yesterday alone.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.