“I’m not doing it for political reasons, I want the vaccine fast,” Trump said of the push for a vaccine, called “Operation Warp Speed. “You wouldn’t have a vaccine for years … I speeded up the process with the FDA… We’re going to have a vaccine in a matter of weeks, it could be four weeks it could be eight weeks … we have a lot of great companies.”
It comes as several Democrats have cast doubt on the safety of a potential vaccine due to the accelerated process: Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., have expressed concerns about potential political pressure they said could lead to a vaccine being approved too early.
“I will not take [Trump’s] word for it,” Harris said when asked by CNN if she would take a vaccine approved before Nov. 3.
“I would want to see what the scientists said,” Biden responded to a question about a vaccine.
North Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham also said Sunday in a debate against Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., Sunday that he would be hesitant to take a vaccine that’s approved by the end of the year.
Republicans have accused them of irresponsible rhetoric.
During his “Fox & Friends” appearance, the president also spoke about Hurricane Sally, slammed Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for critical comments the journalists have been made about them — including calling Bernstein a “nutjob” — and accused liberal cities of “getting weak and soft” against crime in the wake of a shooting of two Los Angeles Police Department officers.
Trump further slammed Biden for allegedly using teleprompters during remote interviews. The Biden campaign has declined to say whether he uses them.
“You look at Biden and he’s reading notes and he’s reading teleprompters all the time,” Trump said. “Then when his guy gets asked about that and he makes a fool of himself … the man is shot, let’s face it, we can’t have a man who’s shot.”
Trump’s comments come with less than two months before the presidential election. Polls show Biden in the lead nationally and in a number of key swing states, but Trump has pulled closer in some swing-state polls.
The election is happening against a backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic which has killed more than 190,000 Americans and amid racial unrest in many cities.