Lame-duck President Donald Trump spoke to the nation on Friday afternoon, his first public comments since Joe Biden was projected the winner of the 2020 presidential race. Trump’s remarks, made from the White House’s Rose garden, were typical: he overstated his administration’s role in the recent positive news on a possible coronavirus vaccine and continued to deny reality, refusing to acknowledge that he lost the election.
Trump praised his virus vaccine initiative, Operation Warp Speed, for its part in the funding of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, which the drug company announced on Monday had shown to be 90 percent effective in protecting people as compared to a placebo. However, there is a problem with the president taking credit—the federal funding Pfizer will receive is connected to distribution, not development. But the president never lets facts stand in the way of a good false brag.
“As a result of Operation Warp Speed,” Trump said, “Pfizer announced on Monday that its China virus vaccine is more than 90% effective. This far exceeds any and all expectations. Nobody thought they’d get to that level. And we have others coming, which we think will be an equal level. Maybe more, if that’s possible.”
Trump added, “Pfizer said it wasn’t part of warp speed, but that turned out to be a unfortunate misrepresentation. They are part. That’s why we gave them the $1.95 billion dollars. And it was an unfortunate mistake that they made when they said that.”
But again, Pfizer did not receive a dime of Operation Warp funding for the research and development of the vaccine, although Trump tried to misconstrue it to sound that way. They are only getting funding if and when their vaccine is actually distributed.
Pfizer spokeswoman, Jerica Pitts, spoke about the company’s move to opt-out of Operation Warp Speed research funds this week, saying the decision was based on efficiency.
“Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing costs have been entirely self-funded,” Pitts added, “We decided to self-fund our efforts so we could move as fast as possible.”
And NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel’s reporting on the hunt for a vaccine says, if anything, Trump has been a “hindrance” to progress.
“In months of reporting about the race for the vaccine, Operation Warp Speed was barely a mention. Trump was NOT seen as a champion for vaccine development, but a hindrance, spreading misinformation and confusion,” Engel tweeted.
Trump made the coronavirus "problem worse" pic.twitter.com/Ent28roBCl
— Peter Wade (@brooklynmutt) November 14, 2020
Finally, while the wins continue to pile up for President-elect Joe Biden, Trump still can’t bring himself to admit defeat. At one point during Friday’s event, Trump seemed to be on his way to utter something about a future Biden administration but appeared to catch himself before saying something truthful and instead said “time will tell” if he remains in office.
Trump: This Administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully the uhh whatever happens in the future who knows which Administration will be, time will tell pic.twitter.com/q2GwwHHAYO
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) November 13, 2020