In remarks to reporters on Labor Day, President Donald Trump said that a “safe and effective” coronavirus vaccine could be in the pipeline as early as next month – an extraordinary claim that could have enormous ramifications not just for the country, the economy, and public health, but also for the election in early November.
From Fox News:
During a Labor Day press conference at the White House Monday, the president touted his administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” program, a public-private partnership that he announced in May, which would produce a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
“We are an absolute leader in every way,” Trump said Monday. “Under my leadership, we’ll produce a vaccine in record time.”
The president went on to claim that the vaccine could become available “during the month of October.”
“The vaccine will be very safe and effective,” he continued. “The people will be happy, the people of the world will be happy.”
“You could have a very big surprise coming up,” Trump said Monday, seemingly referring to the vaccine.
Well, it’s not always clear whether or not we should take Trump at face value; he could just be drumming up hype for the vaccine. He might have simply said it off the cuff. Perhaps he was expressing his hope, perhaps he has actual optimism that the vaccine will be ready to go in October. We certainly hope that’s the case, since it’s always better to under-promise and over-deliver, especially when the stakes are this high. If the vaccine is actually ready by next month, it would be the accomplishment of a generation.
But whether it is or it isn’t ready that soon, we certainly agree with Trump’s next remarks, where he criticized Democrats for “disparaging” the vaccine.
“It is so contrary to all of the lies. They are political lies,” Trump said. “And it is so dangerous for our country. The vaccine will be very safe and very effective. They should apologize for the reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric.”
We weren’t particularly surprised to hear both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris cast doubts on the safety and legitimacy of the vaccine, but that’s only because we can no longer feel surprise at how low the Democrats are willing to sink to attack this president. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a dangerous and reprehensible tactic that could have major public health ramifications. When this vaccine comes out, we need as many people as possible to take it.
Turning it into just another political football is not going to help matters.