President Trump held a press briefing Friday to provide important updates on Operation Warp Speed, and in the process, he called NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bluff on the coronavirus vaccine big time.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump noted his administration would be working “to secure an emergency use authorization [for the vaccine], which should be coming down extremely soon.” Trump then said the administration “will then coordinate the distribution of the vaccine, and it will be approved, I think … very quickly, we hope.”
As to its distribution, Trump announced it would first go “to frontline workers, the elderly, and high-risk Americans” within “a matter of weeks.”
After that, Trump stated that as early as April, the vaccine would be available “to the entire general population, with the exception of places like New York state.” He pointed out that the reason for the delay in the state’s receipt of the vaccine was because “for political reasons, the Governor decided… he wants to take his time with the vaccine. He doesn’t trust where the vaccine is coming from.”
Trump further explained that “[Cuomo] doesn’t trust the fact that it’s this White House, this administration. So we won’t be delivering it to New York until we have [his] authorization to do so, and that pains me to say that.”
Mainstream media outlets erupted in outrage, falsely reporting that Trump was “threatening” to withhold the potentially life-saving vaccine from New York due to a political grudge against Cuomo. The NY Daily News headline read “Trump threatens to deprive New York of ’amazing’ COVID-19 vaccine as infection levels spike.” CNBC initially claimed “Trump says coronavirus vaccine won’t be delivered to New York.”
But Trump did no such things. He did not say the vaccine “won’t be delivered to New York” and he did not “threaten” to withhold it from the state, as both the transcript which I quoted from and the video clearly shows:
Once again, the media LIE by reporting that @realDonaldTrump is punitively withholding COVID vax from NY. "So we won't be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so…the governor will let us know when he's ready." pic.twitter.com/G5xbFCi2in
— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) November 13, 2020
The media’s portrayal of Andrew Cuomo as the poor victim of Trump supposedly using his executive power to exact revenge against a political rival was both predictable and comical but not in a funny way. In response to Trump’s Rose Garden remarks, a whining Cuomo told CNN that the President “tries to bully people” and that he (Cuomo) would not allow such things on his watch. Cuomo also told MSNBC that Trump was both “incompetent” and “irrelevant” in the scheme of things when it comes to implementing a vaccine plan:
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) November 14, 2020
What Cuomo’s journo-groupies conveniently left out of their “reporting” on Trump’s alleged “threats” was what Cuomo said Monday about Trump’s planned debut of the vaccine. It is what Cuomo told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos at the first of the week that set the stage for how Trump responded Friday:
Cuomo blasted President Trump’s vaccine plan Monday morning as “flawed” and went so far as to declare: “We can’t let this vaccination plan go forward the way that Trump and his administration is designing it.”
“You have two months, and you can’t let this vaccination go forward the way the Trump administration is designing it — because Biden can’t undo it two months later,” he said.
“We’ll be in the midst of it. And I’ve been talking to governors across the nation about that. How can we shape the Trump administration vaccine plan to fix it or stop it before it does damage.”
!@NYGovCuomo says it’s “bad news” Pfizer’s Covid vaccine came during the Trump Admin; says he’s going to work w/ other governors to “stop” distribution “before it does damage" pic.twitter.com/ULembNWokW
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 9, 2020
Despicable. What Cuomo basically did there is refuse to cooperate with any Trump-led vaccine rollout for political purposes. Cuomo all but admitted that he’d rather the process be delayed for months in order for it to start under a potential Biden-Harris administration so Biden (and Cuomo himself) could get all the glory for a process Trump and his team fast-tracked well before his critics deliberately undermined the public’s confidence in a vaccine while at the same time yelling at Trump for “not doing enough.”
So who’s the true vaccine villain in this situation? Cuomo, who did the actual threatening by admitting he had been plotting behind the scenes with other governors on how to “stop” Trump’s “flawed” vaccine plan for political reasons before it got started, or Trump, who called his bluff by correctly pointing out Cuomo didn’t trust him enough to accept the vaccine and as a result would direct his administration to await Cuomo’s seal of approval before sending it to his state?
I think the answer is obvious. The villain here is Cuomo – and for a variety of reasons. It was Cuomo’s pulling rank and playing one-upmanship games with NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at the start of the outbreak that paved the way for the deadly toll the Wuhan virus would take on the New Yorkers he proclaims to be fighting for. It was Cuomo’s disastrous early leadership failures that caused New York to become the “primary gateway” for the spread of the virus throughout the entire country.
It was Cuomo’s callous nursing home executive order that led to at least 6,500 nursing home/assisted living facility deaths in New York, for which he has yet to take any personal responsibility whatsoever.
And now it’s Cuomo who has said he will actively work with other governors to do whatever it takes to “stop” Trump’s vaccine plan from being implemented – all because Cuomo’s fragile political ego demands it.
Contrary to media/celebrity proclamations, Cuomo has not covered himself in glory in any way, shape, or form in all of this. Not only is he not a victim in the battle with Trump over the coronavirus vaccine, but he’s also no superhero for the people of New York. Not by a long shot.