Sen. Kamala Harris, the democratic vice presidential nominee, accused President Trump of downplaying the “seriousness” of the coronavirus pandemic and said she wouldn’t take his word that a COVID-19 vaccine was ready for use.
“I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about,” she said during an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” that aired on Sunday. “I will not take his word for it.”
Trump and officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that a vaccine could be ready to ship to the states for distribution by Nov. 1 — two days before Election Day.
“From the beginning of this pandemic, he has called it a hoax, has muzzled the public health experts. He has minimized the seriousness of it. He has created false expectations for the American people and American families, even though if he had listened to the scientists and the experts, he would have understood the gravity of it,” the California lawmaker said as the virus’ death toll in the US neared 190,000.
“His priority was to to do whatever he thought was politically expedient,” Harris continued.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force and a leading expert in infectious diseases, last week said it’s “conceivable” a vaccine could be ready by November and assured that it would be safe to use if it is approved by the feds.
“I will look at the data and I would assume — and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the case — that a vaccine would not be approved for the American public unless it was indeed both safe and effective,” Fauci said.
But asked by host Dana Bash whether health experts would have the final word on a vaccine, Harris claimed they would be “muzzled.”
“If past is prologue they will not. They’ll be muzzled, they’ll be suppressed. They will be sidelined because he’s looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days. And he’s grasping for whatever he can get to pretend that he has been a leader on this issue when he is not,” she said.
Asked if she trusted Fauci, Harris said she did.
“I think Dr. Fauci has proven for anyone who has been watching him for years and years to put the public health of the American people as the highest priority in terms of his work and his reputation and his priority,” Harris said. “Yes, I trust Dr. Fauci.”