Vice President Kamala Harris seemingly contradicted Dr. Anthony Fauci’s positive assessment of former President Donald Trump‘s administration’s vaccine plan Sunday night.
Harris, in an interview with Axios, said that President Joe Biden’s administration did not inherit a vaccine plan from Trump. “There was no national strategy or plan for [COVID-19] vaccinations,” she said, adding: “We’re starting from scratch.”
.@VP Harris: "There was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations. … We're starting from scratch."@mikeallen: Are you having to adjust your sights now of what’s possible, given that?@VP: "We've gotta figure out a way. … No patience for, 'It can't be done.'" #AxiosOnHBO pic.twitter.com/opif5rjg96
— Axios (@axios) February 15, 2021
Fauci had used virtually the exact phrase in a White House press briefing last month — “we certainly are not starting from scratch.” Axios deleted a social media post pointing out the apparent contradiction, reposting the clip of Harris without the Fauci comparison — and without explanation.
Axios deleted the tweet on the left which pointed out that Kamala’s claim seemed to be contradicted by what Fauci has said, and Axios replaced it with the Kamala tweet on the right which no longer includes the context from Fauci. pic.twitter.com/Wws9XX92Ip
— Jerry Dunleavy (@JerryDunleavy) February 15, 2021
PolitiFact has rated Harris’s claim as “mostly false.”
.@VP told @mikeallen that “there was no national strategy or plan for vaccinations” and that Biden admin was “starting from scratch.” That’s wrong. The Trump admin had a plan to distribute to locations chosen by states and let them take it from there. https://t.co/0MoQ8OnpoN pic.twitter.com/nYb8r5gPKz
— PolitiFact (@PolitiFact) February 15, 2021
The contradiction comes at a time when the Biden administration is under pressure to ramp up the rate of vaccinations as the pandemic persists. The pressure places Harris in a situation where she is willing to contradict the nation’s highest-paid federal employee and scientific adviser to the administration, Fauci, in order to reduce the administration’s political exposure.
Fauci has served presidents of both parties going back decades, and Biden decided to keep him on after succeeding Trump as president.
Since Biden’s inauguration, reports of logistical bottlenecks have surfaced in several states’ vaccination efforts.
The Los Angeles Times reports: “Omitted doses, uploading errors, lag times and software mishaps” have plagued California’s vaccine rollout, “leaving the state unable to keep track of how many doses of the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccine are available at any one time.”