Biden Finally Offers Rare Praise of Trump and Operation Warp Speed

Biden Finally Offers Rare Praise of Trump and Operation Warp Speed

Giving credit where credit is due

Mona Salama
Mona Salama
|
December 21, 2021

President Biden finally gave credit to former President Trump for his administration's development of the COVID vaccine in record time under Operation Warp Speed, marking a rare moment after 11 months that he has given acknowledgment to his predecessor's success.

"Let me be clear. Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America was one of the first countries to get the vaccine," Biden said during a speech unveiling his administration plan to combat the new Omicron COVID variant. "Thanks to my administration and the hard work of Americans, we led a rollout, made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms."

The Trump administration created Operation Warp Speed during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020. Under the public-private partnership, Operation Warp Speed facilitated and accelerated the development, manufacturing, and distribution of a COVID vaccine by the end of 2020, faster than the typical timeline of three to five years. The program under the Trump administration developed three U.S- FDA approved vaccines and promoted the mass production rollout.

The first vaccination was administered nine months later, in December. According to allocation figures from the Health and Human Services Department before Biden took office, the federal government was making more than 8 million doses a week available through its distribution program.

During the five weeks of the vaccine rollout under Trump's last month in office, the distribution of vaccines was rapidly increasing daily. According to Bloomberg News vaccine U.S. data tracker, the day Biden was sworn in on Jan. 20, a record high of 1.6 million vaccinations was administered. The data also shows that 1.3 million shots were administered on Jan. 11, and 1.1 million were inoculated during both days -- Jan. 14 and 15.

The Biden administration would build on the existing structure left behind by the Trump team that paved the means for the new administration to secure enough vaccines to inoculate the country before the Summer of 2021.

Biden in Tuesday remarks also praised Trump for getting the booster shot, saying it's one of "the few things" he can finally agree with his predecessor doing.

"I got my booster shot as soon as they were available," Biden said, adding, "and just the other day former President Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot."

Trump revealed Sunday that he received the third shot at an event with Bill O’Reilly — eliciting boos for the first time from some of his supporters in attendance.

In the eleven months in office, Biden nor his administration has ever acknowledged nor given credit to Trump for creating Operation Warp Speed. Last year during the 2020 election, as the presidential candidate, Biden criticized Trump’s pandemic leadership and swore he would "shut down the virus" if elected.

However, Biden has now fended off questions regarding his administration's lagging response to expand testing as there is currently a nationwide shortage ahead of the holiday season. The president insisted that "anybody anticipated" the dramatic tidal wave surge of the new variant.

Throughout his speech, Biden also scolded the 20% of Americans who are still unvaccinated. Turning to fear, Biden painted a dark winter for the group, saying their choice in deciding not to get the shot would be the "difference between life or death."

"To folks who are not vaccinated: You may think you're putting only yourself at risk, but it's your choice. Your choice is not just a choice about you; it affects other people. You're putting other people at risk — your loved ones, your friends, neighbors, strangers you run into.  And your choice can be the difference between life or death," Biden said.

The president claimed the unvaccinated Americans have an obligation "to your country" to get the jab, adding, "It's your patriotic duty."

In an interview with Fox News Tuesday evening, Trump reacted to his predecessor giving him credit for Operation Warp Speed's efforts, saying he is "very appreciative" and "surprised" Biden thanked him and his administration for their success.

"I'm very appreciative of that — I was surprised to hear it. I think it was a terrific thing, and I think it makes a lot of people happy," Trump said.

"I think he did something very good," Trump added. "You know, it has to be a process of healing in this country, and that will help a lot."

Mona Salama

Mona Salama

Mona Salama is a political reporter for The Floridian covering Congress, the White House and Congressional elections.

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