Possible President-Elect Joe Biden in his first economic remarks warned Monday if President Trump continues to block a coordination of an orderly transition, including hampering access to Operation Warp Speed vaccine distribution plan would lead to more Americans who “may die” from the coronavirus.
“More people may die if we don’t coordinate,” Biden responded when asked what does he see as the “biggest threat” to his transition process due to Trump’s “unprecedented attempt to obstruct and delay a smooth transfer of power.”
“So how do we get the vaccine? How do we get over 300 million Americans vaccinated? What’s the game plan? It’s a huge, huge, huge undertaking to get it done, prioritize those with greatest need, and working our way through it,” Biden added. “And so they say they have this Warp Speed program that the not only dealt with getting vaccines, but also how to distribute this. If we have to wait until January 20th to start that planning, it puts us behind over a month, month and a half. And so it’s important that it be done, that there be coordination now. Now as rapidly as we can get that done.”
Later in another softball question, Biden called the delay as typical “Trumpianism,” saying he finds Trump’s action in debilitating his ability to get started “more embarrassing.”
The comments from Biden come on the heels of news of another company, part of Operation Warp Speed releasing early data showing a high success rate in its vaccine effectiveness against the coronavirus. Earlier Monday morning, Moderna said their vaccine has shown an almost 95% effectiveness in the first clinical trial, becoming the second company after Pfizer in one week to show early data of promising results.
However, Biden cautioned the good news, stating the development of an effective vaccine is only the first step, but means nothing if he can’t gain access to the Trump administration’s vaccine distribution plan to quickly get Americans vaccinated.
“It’s great news that Moderna and Pfizer have each come up with vaccines that are in excess of 90% effectiveness,” Biden said. “And getting the vaccine and a vaccination, though, are two different things. Everyone on our call today, in our Zoom today, agreed that the sooner we have access to the administration’s distribution plan, the sooner this transition would be smoothly, move forward.”
A White House spokesperson slammed Biden’s comments as “irresponsible and not based on fact,” stating the Trump Administration has prepared the plan to “ship the vaccine doses to every ZIP code in America” within 24 hours of approval by the Food and Drug Administration.”
Biden also direly warned of a “very dark winter” approaching, emphasizing his plan to first control the virus before focusing on getting the “economy back on track.”
“We are going into a very dark winter. Things are going to get much tougher before they get easier,” Biden said. “We all agreed that we want to get the economy back on track. We need our workers to be back on the job by getting the virus under control.”
The possible president-elect also renewed his call for a nationwide mask mandate, saying he has “enormous respect” for state leaders implementing the rules within their jurisdiction while ripping on Republican governors who imposed taken steps to lock down their states as well as Trump Administration advisers that have called on people to resist and “rise up” against Democrat leaders that imposed new egregious restrictions in order to contain the rising case of infected patients despite having below 1% daily in total death cases.
“In addition to the folks who have already been leading, like the governor of Michigan, the idea that the President’s now existing remaining advisor on COVID is saying that they should resist,” Biden said, referencing Scott Atlas’s remarks. “What the hell is the matter with these guys? What is the matter with them? Resist? You know, every major individual of any consequence in the health field is saying, ‘We can save 100,000 lives just between now and January 21 by wearing these masks.”
“It’s going to take a while for the vaccine to be able to be available, distributed, and get to people. We’re talking about 350,000 to 400,000 people dying. What are they doing? It’s totally irresponsible,” Biden added.
According to the Biden team, the CEOs and labor union leaders he met with, a majority of those leaders who endorsed his presidency including Mary Barra, the chief executive of General Motors; Sonia Syngal, the chief executive of Gap; Brian Cornell, the head of Target; Satya Nadella, the head of Microsoft; Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO; Mary Kay Henry, President of SEIU; Marc Perrone, President of UFCW; Lee Saunders, President of AFSCME and Rory Gamble, president of the United Auto Workers.