President Donald Trump on Monday shot back at Drs. Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, the two doctors who helped spearhead the Trump administration's Wuhan coronavirus response. Trump took issue with a pair of interviews Fauci and Birx did over the weekend with CNN in a special called "COVID War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out."
During that interview, Fauci appeared to take credit for the creation of the COVID vaccine, saying the best decision he made was fast-tracking the plans for a vaccine. He failed to mention Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration's public-private partnership to back research and accelerate the creation, manufacturing and distribution of a safe and effective vaccine. The vaccine was created in nine months, a record-breaking time frame.
"In a fake interview last night on CNN, Dr. Fauci who said he was an athlete in college but couldn't throw a baseball even close to home plate, it was a 'roller,' tried to take credit for the vaccine, when in fact he said it would take three to five years, and probably longer, to have it approved," Trump said in a statement. "Dr. Fauci was incapable of pressing the FDA to move it through faster. I was the one to get it done, and even the fake news media knows and reports this."
The former president also slammed Fauci's repeated "flip-flops" and goalpost moving "to make himself look as good as possible." According to Trump, he made the decision to halt flights from China despite Fauci advising against it. To this day, that decision is still cited as the single greatest decision made throughout the pandemic.
"I closed it against his strong recommendation, which saved many lives," Trump said. "Dr. Fauci also said we didn't need to wear masks, then a few months later he said we needed to wear masks, and now, two or three of them. Fauci spent U.S. money on the Wuhan lab in China–and we now know how that worked out."
In her portion of the interview, Dr. Birx said the White House Coronavirus Task Force's "biggest mistake" was a lack of consistent messaging. She also said she believed the first 100,000 lives could have been saved if the United States started working to flatten the curve sooner.
"Dr. Birx is a proven liar with very little credibility left. Many of her recommendations were viewed as “pseudo-science,” and Dr. Fauci would always talk negatively about her and, in fact, would ask not to be in the same room with her. The States who followed her lead, like California, had worse outcomes on Covid, and ruined the lives of countless children because they couldn’t go to school, ruined many businesses, and an untold number of Americans who were killed by the lockdowns themselves," Trump said. "Dr. Birx was a terrible medical advisor, which is why I seldom followed her advice. Her motto should be “Do as I say, not as I do.” Who can forget when Dr. Birx gave a huge mandate to the people of our Nation to not travel, and then traveled a great distance to see her family for Thanksgiving—only to have them call the police and turn her in? She then, embarrassingly for her, resigned."
The president credited Operation Warp Speed for the vaccine's development, which was done in a record amount of time.
"We developed American vaccines by an American President in record time, nine months, which is saving the entire world. We bought billions of dollars of these vaccines on a calculated bet that they would work, perhaps the most important bet in the history of the world," he said. "Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx moved far too slowly, and if it were up to them we’d currently be locked in our basements as our country suffered through a financial depression. Families, and children in particular, would be suffering the mental strains of this disaster like never before."
As of now, we have Pfizer, Moderna, and the Johnson and Johnson vaccines (with AstraZeneca on the way). And that's thanks to Operation Warp Speed.