On Friday, President Donald Trump said that the US government would not deliver a coronavirus vaccine to New York when it is available, because the state's governor previously commented that he had concerns that the Trump administration would rush the vaccine for political gain.
During a press conference from the White House Rose Garden on Friday, the president said that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo “will have to let us know when he’s ready for it because otherwise, we can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people immediately.”
“He doesn’t trust where the vaccine is coming from. These are coming from the greatest companies anywhere in the world, greatest labs in the world, but he 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 authorization to do so and that pains me to say that,” Trump said.
Sullen Trump lashes out at New York, says whole country will get vaccine except New York, until Governor asks nicely. pic.twitter.com/hadL97HrqE
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) November 13, 2020
Rich Azzopardi, a senior advisor to Cuomo, later posted a response on Twitter, saying that the governor “is fighting to ensure the communities hit hardest by COVID get the vaccine.“
Trump “has failed with his pandemic response, lied to Americans about how bad it was when he knew otherwise & was fired by voters for his incompetence,” Azzopardi said.
This was the first press conference that the president has given since US news outlets projected Joe Biden to be the winner of the 2020 election.
Those close to the situation suspect that Trump's decision is related to an announcement made by Cuomo in September, where he said that the state would form an independent task force of scientists, doctors, and health experts that would review data from every Covid-19 vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
This measure was being done out of concern that the Trump administration rushed the vaccine for political gain.
“Frankly, I’m not going to trust the federal government’s opinion and I wouldn’t recommend to New Yorkers based on the federal government’s opinion,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls Trump a liar and points out that Trump is being investigated for tax fraud in New York in response to Trump's false claims about New York and a COVID vaccine. pic.twitter.com/7GYlkXH8cu
— Sarah Reese Jones (@PoliticusSarah) November 13, 2020
Cuomo is not alone, other governors throughout the country, such as California Gov. Gavin Newsom, have also announced that they will be setting up independent review panels to verify the safety of any vaccine that is released to address the COVID pandemic.
On Monday, Pfizer said that the Covid-19 vaccine it developed with German drugmaker BioNTech was 90% effective in a late-stage trial. The Trump administration has said that the company was a part of the US government's "Operation Warp Speed," while Pfizer representatives say that the vaccine was developed independently of the government program.
Still, Trump said that his administration will have a safe vaccine ready very soon.
“It’ll be approved very, very quickly. The vaccine will be distributed to front-line workers, the elderly and high-risk Americans immediately. It’ll be a matter of weeks. Get out very, very much ahead of schedule,” Trump said.
Since Trump's press conference, New York State Attorney General Letitia James has threatened to sue Trump if he tries to withhold the vaccine from the state.
INBOX: @NewYorkStateAG says she will sue Trump if he tries to deprive New York of a COVID-19 vaccine, calling his threat "nothing more than vindictive behavior by a lame-duck president trying to extract vengeance on those who oppose his politics." pic.twitter.com/xETHEbw0PN
— Chris Sommerfeldt (@C_Sommerfeldt) November 13, 2020