On Tuesday, The United States President, Donald Trump accelerated his own already optimistic predictions, saying a vaccine may be available even before the November 3 presidential election.
“We’re within weeks of getting it, you know could be three weeks, four weeks,” he told a town hall question-and-answer session with voters in Pennsylvania aired on ABC.
Democrats have expressed concern that Trump is pressuring government health regulators and scientists to approve a rushed vaccine in time to help his uphill bid for reelection.
Trump also raised eyebrows when asked at the town hall why he had downplayed the gravity of the pandemic in its early months.
“I didn’t downplay it,” Trump replied. “I actually, in many ways, I up-played it in terms of action.”
But Trump himself told journalist Bob Woodward during taped interviews that he had deliberately decided to “play it down” to avoid alarming Americans.
The president, who is rarely seen wearing a mask in public and long refused to push Americans to adopt the habit, told the town hall that “a lot of people don’t want to wear masks and people don’t think masks are good.”
The comment caught wide flak, including from Biden, who also knocked Trump for saying the Democrat declined to institute a mask mandate.
“I’m not the president, he’s the president,” Biden whispered into the microphone.
Trump’s anti-mask message got a dressing down of sorts by Redfield too, as the CDC director held up a medical mask to senators and said “I might go so far as to say that this facemask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”
Trump rejected the assertion outright and noted that he called Redfield to ask him what he meant.
“I think there are a lot of problems with masks,” Trump said. “It’s not more effective than a vaccine.”
Biden routinely appears at campaign events wearing a mask, and usually takes it off to deliver a speech. Trump, who is trailing in pre-election polling, has mocked Biden for wearing a mask.
Polls show a majority of Americans disapprove of Trump’s handling of the pandemic.