“I don’t think anyone deserves credit when half a million people in the country have died of this pandemic,” Jen Psaki said when asked if the Trump administration deserved some credit for the vaccine rollout.
Once Joe Biden took office, his administration wasted no time getting the MSM to amplify the claim that the Trump administration did not give them a Wuhan coronavirus vaccine rollout plan. As we reported in January, CNN ran a big story the day after Biden’s inauguration, which quoted anonymous Biden officials saying they were having to “start from scratch” on the rollout.
It wasn’t just anonymous officials making a claim. Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, told Meet the Press that “the process to distribute the vaccine… did not really exist when we came into the White House.” Biden himself called the vaccine rollout a “dismal failure thus far” and initially set a goal of 100 million vaccinations in 100 days (he later upped it to 150 million vaccinations in 100 days).
The problem with the allegation that the Biden team had to “start from scratch,” which Vice President Kamala Harris also claimed, is that it simply wasn’t true. Former Operation Warp Speed staffers, some of them from Trump’s HHS department, were not the only ones stepping forward to refute it with details they said the Biden team left out. Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci pushed back on the CNN report as well.
Not long after Harris made her comments, however, Fauci reversed course and stated he agreed with her more or less. He apparently got the memo that everyone had to be working off the same “start from scratch” page.
During Thursday’s White House press briefing, Biden press secretary Jen Psaki was asked if the Trump administration deserved any credit for “laying the groundwork” for the vaccine rollout. Psaki’s answer was to invoke the U.S. death toll for the pandemic as the rationale for why they didn’t:
Psaki: I don’t think anyone deserves credit when half a million people in the country have died of this pandemic. So, what our focus is on, and what the President’s focus is on when he came into office just over a month ago, was ensuring that we had enough vaccines. We have — we are going to have them now. We had enough vaccinators, and we had enough vaccine locations to get this pandemic under control.
There’s no question, and all data points to the fact, that there were not enough of any of those things when he took office. We are open-eyed about the challenge we continue to live under, and that’s why he has been focused every single day and doing everything possible to get the pandemic under control.
But those were — there were shortages in all those areas, which were preventing us from moving forward on getting the pandemic under control.
This answer was in addition to the one she gave earlier this week in response to an observation from a New York Times reporter regarding how the conversations about the Merck/Johnson & Johnson vaccine production deal was announced Tuesday actually started under the Trump administration as well.
After stating she was talking about the deal in terms of “when it was finalized,” Psaki told the reporter that “…there’s a difference between conversations and it moving forward.”
The various arguments this administration has put forth about so-called vaccine shortages, supposedly not having enough vaccinators, and being given no rollout plan are an insult to the American people’s intelligence. They saw for themselves in mid-December when the Pfizer vaccine’s first dosage was given to a healthcare worker in Queens.
In addition to that is the inconvenient fact that before Inauguration Day, the Trump administration was already very close to hitting the daily numbers Biden needed to reach his goal:
But per vaccination data from Bloomberg, the U.S. has now hit 1 million vaccinations for four days in a row, with a rolling seven-day average of 1.2 million. And on Monday, Biden himself said he hoped to raise the threshold to 1.5 million soon.
So much for those alleged “shortages,” right?
Without Operation Warp Speed and Trump using his megaphone to put public pressure daily on the people he relied on to get the job done, the likelihood of a vaccine becoming available in record time would have been slim to none. Had Trump bowed to his critics in the media and on the left about how vaccines took much more time than he was willing to give them to be created, tested, approved, and ready for distribution, the Biden administration really would have inherited a big vaccine problem.
But they didn’t. Though there were no doubt hiccups in the transition from one administration to the next concerning the vaccine plan, the Biden administration started with daily vaccination numbers that came close to meeting their goal. The Trump administration’s efforts enabled Biden’s team already to have a good running start on vaccination numbers.
In addition to that, the Biden administration worked off of existing contracts that Trump’s administration negotiated with companies like Pfizer and Moderna to increase production numbers.
And that Merck/J&J deal that was announced earlier this week was already being brokered while Trump was still president.
It’s hard to determine which has been more infuriating: Biden, Harris, and other Democrats deliberately undermining the vaccine last year by telling people it could be unsafe if “rushed through because of politics,” Democrats conveniently flip-flopping on that position after the election, or the Biden administration delivering slaps to the faces of Operation Warp Speed members who worked their fannies off to help make what was said to be impossible happen before the end of the year.
Biden can try and cover himself in glory all he wants on how the vaccine rollout has gone so far, but the facts are what they are. No amount of posturing and “circling back” on the issue from Psaki or any other spinmeister in this administration is going to change that.
— Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym “Sister Toldjah” and can be reached via Twitter. —DONATE
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