Vice President Mike Pence offered a public defense for his boss, President Donald Trump, over the increasingly alarming lack of progress in Covid inoculations of Americans, as both were spending their holidays at respective vacation spots.
Tweeting from his ski vacation in Vail, Colorado, Pence echoed an earlier tweet from Trump, who is ensconced in his Mar-A-Lago golf resort in Florida, pushing back on reports that Operation Warp Speed is falling far short of its ambitious vaccine rollout plans. This news come as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc by breaking new records for hospitalizations and claiming the lives of roughly 3,000 Americans every day, including a 41-year-old just-elected GOP Congressman.
“Operation Warp Speed is on track to distribute 20 Million doses of Coronavirus Vaccine by next week,” Pence claimed. “Millions of Americans have been vaccinated and we are working with States every day to vaccinate millions more. This is no time for playing politics!”
Operation Warp Speed is on track to distribute 20 Million doses of Coronavirus Vaccine by next week. Millions of Americans have been vaccinated and we are working with States every day to vaccinate millions more. This is no time for playing politics!https://t.co/KUKf1Szd0p
— Mike Pence (@Mike_Pence) December 30, 2020
Pence’s tweet was clearly a shot at the incoming administration, as it linked to a news story that featured President-elect Joe Biden warning the country was “far behind” where it needed to be to meet the goal of inoculating most Americans by this summer.
Earlier in the evening, Pence’s boss had posted his own thinly-veiled attempt at shifting blame for the poor progress on Covid vaccine inoculations onto the states — even though Trump was personally taking credit for its apparent success just a week before.
But all of the supposed good news Pence and Trump were touting about the vaccine rollout while on their respective vacations was, in fact, just the latest in a series of scaled-back White House promises. Back in September, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows had pledged 100 million vaccine doses would be “ready to go” by October 31. Weeks later, Trump subtly amended that promise on the campaign trail to having 100 million vaccine doses ready by the end of the year. Then, two week ago, HHS Secretary Alex Azar lowered expectations even more, predicting that Operation Warp Speed would achieve 20 million vaccinated Americans by the end of 2020, which is still more ambitious than Pence now promoting the distribution of 20 million doses within the public health system.
Regardless, all of those previously touted goals are almost certain to be missed, since the CDC reported as of Tuesday morning that only 11 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had been sent out so far, and just over two million doses had been given out as shots.
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