Trump is furious because he thinks Biden will get the credit for coronavirus vaccine developments, report says

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  • President Donald Trump is furious that President-elect Joe Biden’s administration may take all the credit for the rollout of a coronavirus vaccine, according to The Daily Beast
  • The president had hoped to brandish the success of Operation Warp Speed at packed, mask-free rallies during a second term, the outlet reported. 
  • He has fixated on a successful vaccine to secure his legacy, and multiple reports suggest he pinned his reelection hopes on releasing one before Election Day.
  • But the two most promising vaccine candidates — one developed with the help of Trump’s Operation Warp Speed — announced the success of their final trials after Election Day. 
  • Trump has reacted bitterly to the timings of these announcements, even accusing one of delaying its results until after Election Day.
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President Donald Trump is furious at the prospect that President-elect Joe Biden may get credit for the coronavirus vaccines developed during his presidency, The Daily Beast reported.

Two people who have spoken to the president told The Daily Beast that he is getting upset at the idea Biden will “steal” the plaudits from him when a vaccine rolls out in the new administration. 

Two vaccine candidates — one developed with assistance from Trump’s vaccine effort Operation Warp Speed — have emerged with their developers confident of more than 90% efficacy. 

The president has largely delegated his administration’s coronavirus response efforts. But he has taken an enormous interest in a vaccine, and multiple reports over the last months have suggested that he strongly tied it to both his reelection hopes and his future legacy. 

Two people with knowledge of Trump’s private comments told The Daily Beast that he had hoped to hold packed, mask-free rallies during a second term, where he would bask in touting Operation Warp Speed’s success.

He also planned to take a leading role in promoting the vaccine, and hold press conferences admonishing the media for skeptical coverage about the COVID-19 crisis, the sources said. 

“The president has been looking forward to showing that he was right and the media was wrong,” one source told The Daily Beast. 

Trump also had an eye on his legacy when it came to Moderna’s vaccine, which received significant support from Operation Warp Speed. The company announced on Monday that the vaccine was found to have 94.5% efficacy in preventing COVID-19 infections.

Trump tweeted shortly after the announcement: “For those great ‘historians’, please remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!” 

New administrations often benefit from groundwork laid by outgoing presidents, who are irked to watch their successors reap the benefits.

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Former President Barack Obama expressed similar frustration when Trump took credit for a strong economic recovery that began during Obama’s term.

“When you hear how the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,” Obama said in 2018.

The Trump campaign’s ‘Holy Grail’

As Trump’s reelection campaign slumped throughout the fall, his aides had viewed the timely rollout of a vaccine as the “Holy Grail” that could save his prospects, according to The New York Times.

In August, Trump had considered fast-tracking FDA emergency-use authorization of a vaccine so that it would be ready by the election, the Financial Times reported.

This, along with other moves, prompted fears of a rushed and politicized vaccine process that could undermine public trust. In September, states received a letter from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instructing them to be ready to distribute a vaccine by November 1, two days before Election Day.

But both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine candidates announced the success of their final clinical trials after Election Day, to the president’s fury.

On November 10, he claimed without evidence that the companies had deliberately waited to announce their results.

“As I have long said, @Pfizer and the others would only announce a Vaccine after the Election, because they didn’t have the courage to do it before,” he said.

Pfizer’s vaccine was developed without assistance from Operation Warp Speed, and the company said the timing of the announcement was based purely on scientific grounds.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said that the company had simply released the results “when the science told us the data was available.”

Trump also took aim at the FDA for the late announcement, despite its not being connected to Pfizer: “The @US_FDA and the Democrats didn’t want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later – As I’ve said all along!”

The White House did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

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