More than 33,000 people in New York have died from COVID-19.
Donald Trump on Friday threatened to withhold the newly developed Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from the state of New York, justifying his decision by suggesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo had criticized the current administration.
"As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population with the exception of places like New York state," Trump said from the White House, in his first public remarks since losing his bid for reelection earlier this month.
Trump claimed that "for political reasons" Cuomo "wants to take his time on the vaccine, he doesn't trust where the vaccine is coming from."
"He doesn't trust the fact that it's this White House, this administration, so we won't be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so," Trump added.
But that isn't what Cuomo said.
In a Nov. 9 interview with ABC News, Cuomo said that any vaccine plan would have to be adopted by the incoming Joe Biden administration because Trump had failed to devise one of his own, despite having months to prepare. As a result, he said he believes key communities will not receive the vaccine in a timely manner.
"The bad news is that it's about 2 months before Joe Biden takes over and that means this administration is going to be implementing a vaccine plan. The vaccine plan is very important. It's probably the most ambitious undertaking since COVID began," Cuomo said.
"The Trump administration denied COVID so they were never ready for it. There was no mobilization of the government. They're still doing the same thing. They're going to take this vaccine and they're going to go through the private mechanism: through hospitals, through drug market chains, et cetera. That's going to be slow and that's going to bypass the communities that we call health care deserts."
In an interview on MSNBC Friday, following the White House press conference, Cuomo responded directly.
"None of what he said is true," he said.
More than 33,000 people in New York have died of COVID-19 already.
From a Nov. 13 press conference:
DONALD TRUMP: As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population with the exception of places like New York state, where, for political reasons, the governor decided to say, and I don't think it's good politically, I think it's very bad from a health standpoint.
He wants to take his time on the vaccine, he doesn't trust where the vaccine is coming from. These are coming from the greatest companies anywhere in the world. Greatest labs in the world.
But he doesn't trust the fact that it's this White House, this administration, so we won't be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so and that pains me to say that. This is a very successful — amazing — vaccine. 90% and more.
But — so the governor, Gov. Cuomo, will have to let us know when he's ready for it. Otherwise, we can't be delivering it to a state that won't be giving it to his people immediately. And I know many, I know the people of New York very well, I know they want it. So, the governor will let us know when he's ready.
He's had some very bad editorials recently about this statement and what's happened with respect to nursing homes, and his handling of nursing homes and I hope he doesn't handle this as badly as he's handled the nursing homes.
But we're ready to provide it as soon as they let us know that they'll actually use it. And again, it's a very safe and a great vaccine.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.