In Muir interview, Trump walks back talk of vaccine by year’s end, touts progress on therapeutics
ABC NewsBy ENJOLI FRANCIS AND ESTHER CASTILLEJO, ABC NEWS
(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump told ABC News anchor David Muir during an exclusive interview that “with or without a vaccine” for COVID-19, the virus would pass “and we’re going to be back to normal.”
Less than 48 hours after touting, “We think we’ll have a vaccine by the end of this year and we’re pushing very hard,” during a Fox News town hall Sunday, the president seemed demure when Muir asked him whether he was still convinced that the U.S. would have a vaccine by year’s end as well as 300 million doses.
“You can never be convinced,” Trump said, walking back his Sunday statement.
“I could say this: We’re doing really great,” the president said Tuesday. “I get reports every single day, they’re doing really great. Am I convinced? I can’t be convinced of anything. But I think that we have a really good shot of having something very, very substantial. … I’ve been watching a lot of people where their lives were saved. There’s a lot of great things happening.”
Trump pointed to “therapeutics,” drugs that treat the virus, which he said he liked more because it solved the current problem with COVID-19 cases.
“The vaccines are great, but you know the vaccines take longer because of the testing and because of what they have to do. The therapeutics — we’re making tremendous progress on therapeutics,” he said.
His comments to Muir came less than a week after the president took personal responsibility over Operation Warp Speed, aimed at finding a vaccine for the coronavirus.
During an Oval Office spray with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, the president repeatedly said he was at the helm, using a metaphor of the scientists and drug manufacturers as “the admiral” and himself as “the general.”
“I’m really in charge of it. I could say somebody else, I will say we are dealing with, as you know, the general and the admiral. They are very much in charge. But I think probably more than anything I am in charge,” he told reporters, adding, “I get blamed anyway.”
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