Donald Trump's interference in the quest for a COVID-19 vaccine is further damaging his "disastrous" pandemic response, CNN has said after the U.S. president sought to publicly challenge the scientific opinion of one of the country's top health officials.
The CNN analysis piece, published on Thursday, came after Trump undermined comments by Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield on two important coronavirus-related issues – vaccine and masks, calling him "confused" and "mistaken."Redfield had told lawmakers that a vaccine could only be broadly rolled out by the "late second quarter or third quarter" of 2021 and noted that a mask is more of a guarantee to protect against the disease than a vaccine. But Trump questioned that in a White House press conference.
"I think he (Redfield) made a mistake when he said that." Trump said, adding: "That's incorrect information. I believe he was confused. I think he just misunderstood the question, probably."
Trump this week claimed that at least 100 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine could be distributed by the end of 2020, and that the U.S. would have enough vaccine stocks for "every American" by April 2021. "A President who has no medical expertise and has incessantly downplayed the emergency bulldozed into the White House Briefing Room to kneecap one of the nation's top health officials, Dr. Robert Redfield," CNN's senior reporter Stephen Collinson wrote in the article.
Trump is trying to create "an impression of a return to normality" before the November presidential election, Collinson said.
"By repeatedly talking about a vaccine as if it was already available, and not subject to rigorous clinical trials, Trump also cast doubt on the process of scientific evaluation that will be required before it is approved by regulators," the article wrote.
Trump's attempt to refute Redfield's comment shows that "his short-term electoral considerations are far more important to him than a credible inoculation that Americans trust."
"More broadly, Trump's behavior showed how a President who disdains details and has never leveled with Americans about the virus has been such a failure in mitigating the worst health crisis in 100 years," Collinson wrote.
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