White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany excoriated CNN on Thursday for pushing a narrative that President Donald Trump was unsafely pushing a coronavirus vaccine in time for Election Day.
“CNN spinning up this conspiracy theory,” McEnany said during the White House press briefing on Thursday when asked about the vaccine timeline.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield sent a letter to American governors asking them to clear hurdles for vaccine distribution by November 1, according to reports on Wednesday.
That prompted CNN to question whether Trump was dangerously pushing to get a vaccine by Election Day, pushing comments from “health experts” questioning the timeline despite the decision made by career CDC officials.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement Thursday that “too much of the evidence points to the Trump administration pressuring the FDA to approve a vaccine by Election Day.”
But McEnany said that that was absolutely false.
“No one is pressuring the FDA to do anything; this is again a bizarre theory spun up by CNN, among others,” McEnany said.
She cited comments from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, and even Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci who all said they were not experiencing political pressure to get a vaccine by Election Day.
Trump, McEnany asserted, would not unsafely rush a coronavirus vaccine to distribution.
“He will not in any way sacrifice safety and making sure this is 100 percent airtight before the American people receive it,” she said. “The priority here is saving lives. There will be a safe and effective vaccine in the works.”
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Thursday that they could have results from their coronavirus vaccine trial as early as October.
“We expect by the end of October, we should have enough … to say whether the product works or not,” he said.
Dr. Fauci described the vaccine timeline as “guesstimates” in a CNN interview on Thursday.
“It is conceivable that you could have it by October, though I don’t think that that’s likely,” he said.