WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday celebrated the recent breakthrough of a successful coronavirus vaccine — but said the people of New York wouldn’t receive it until Gov. Andrew Cuomo got out of the way.
In a Rose Garden address on Friday, the commander-in-chief said they would distribute a COVID-19 vaccine across the United States but would not send it to the hard-hit Empire State because Cuomo doesn’t trust it.
“He wants to take his time with a vaccine. He doesn’t trust where the vaccine’s coming from. These are coming form the greatest companies anywhere in the world, the greatest labs in the world, but he doesn’t trust the fact that it’s this White House, this administration,” he said.
“So we won’t be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so. That pains me to say that. This is a very successful amazing vaccine at 90 percent and more,” Trump added.
Cuomo has repeatedly made disparaging remarks about the vaccine, claiming it had been “politicized” under Trump and claimed it would need to undergo a second review by his administration, citing his distrust of the president.
But on Wednesday The Post revealed that Cuomo had skipped out on 17 governors-only meetings about the vaccine and spurned a one-on-one meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar.
Trump applauded all of the people involved in Operation Warp Speed, his administration’s private-public partnership to accelerate the development and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“No medical breakthrough of this scope and magnitude has ever been achieved this rapidly, this quickly, and we’re very proud of it,” Trump said in his first address to the nation since the race was called for Joe Biden on Saturday.
On Monday, German biotech company Pfizer announced that their vaccine was more than 90 percent effective, a major development in the global fight against the disease.
“This far exceeds any and all expectations,” Trump said, vowing the vaccine would be “free of charge” to the American people.
It will be approved very very quickly, I hope,” he added, saying the therapy would be Gus Perna, the Army general in charge of Operation Warp Speed, said on Sunday that the federal government will begin to distribute a coronavirus vaccine within 24 hours once one is approved.
Trump said the therapy would be distributed first to frontline workers, the elderly and high risk Americans and announced three other vaccine candidates were in the final stages of trial.
The Rose Garden address was also Trump’s first on-camera remarks in a week after he gave a free-wheeling address in the White House briefing room in which he claimed his opponents were trying to “steal” the election from him.
He laid a wreath along with First Lady Melania on Veterans Day Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery but did not speak.
Lawyers for the president’s re-election campaign have filed lawsuits in several states where they are challenging the vote count and maintain that Trump will win.
As of Friday afternoon, Biden leads Trump in the Electoral College, 306-232, after several networks projected that he would win the state of Georgia — the first Democratic president to do so since Bill Clinton in 1992.
In a statement released just minutes before Trump began speaking, Biden said a robust and immediate response from the federal government had been “woefully lacking” as the US experiences a record number of new daily infections.
“Today, I renew my call for every American, regardless of where they live or who they voted for, to step up and do their part on social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing to protect themselves and to protect others,” Biden said.
The US recorded more than 150,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest number since the virus first took hold nine months ago.
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