House GOP leader says he trusts Trump over CDC director on vaccine timing

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said he trusts President Trump’s comments on a timeline for the release of a coronavirus vaccine over Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield.

“We’re going to have a safe and effective vaccine this year, and listen to the preparation of what we’ve been able to do with Operation Warp Speed, to be able to deliver it. When that time comes, if I just take the words of the CDC and the president, the president’s right,” McCarthy said during a press briefing on Thursday.  

“I think one of those two individuals had more information than the other, and that was the president,” he added.

Trump at a Wednesday evening press briefing said Redfield was incorrect when he said a vaccine for COVID-19 would likely not be available until “the second or third quarter of 2021,” remarks the CDC director made in testimony to Congress.

Redfield’s estimate tracks with the outlines provided by other health experts, but Trump said a vaccine could be widely available by this fall. Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Wednesday said Trump lacked credibility in terms of the timing of a vaccine because Trump appears to want one out speedily to help with his reelection. The Trump campaign has criticized Biden for fearmongering.

McCarthy said that after speaking with other experts including Dr. Moncef Slaoui, the chief scientific adviser to the Trump administration’s vaccine development program,  and pharmaceutical companies developing COVID-19 vaccines, he believes Trump’s timeline is more accurate.

He told reporters that Redfield likely “needs to be updated” on the latest information. 

“So what you should do is actually ask the question, to Dr. [Moncef] Slaoui who’s in charge of it, who is the adviser to what’s happening, who’s working every single day with the eight companies that are building the vaccine,” McCarthy said. 

Tags Coronavirus COVID-19 Donald Trump FDA Joe Biden Kevin McCarthy vaccine development
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