Outgoing president says he’ll delay COVID-19 vaccine for New York in latest beef with Cuomo

U.S. President Trump delivers update on so-called Operation Warp Speed coronavirus treatment program in an address from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington
U.S. President Donald Trump smiles as he delivers an update on the so-called Operation Warp Speed program, the joint Defense Department and HHS initiative that has struck deals with several drugmakers in an effort to help speed up the search for effective treatments for the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in an address from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 13, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

The outgoing president of the United States effectively told New York to drop dead on Friday.

Donald Trump said he would delay the federal government’s delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine to New York apparently because Governor Andrew Cuomo refuses to trust him.

During his Friday the 13th speech at the Rose Garden of the White House, Trump charged that he won’t deliver the vaccine to New York state until Cuomo lets his administration “know when he’s ready for it because otherwise, we can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people immediately.”

New York — Trump’s former home state until he formally declared himself a Florida man last year — was the first major epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in March and April. More than 25,000 New Yorkers have died of the illness, and more than 550,000 in the state alone became sick. 

The virus’ second wave has apparently arrived, with the latest surge coming in Staten Island — the lone borough of New York City that Trump carried in the 2020 election.

But Trump appeared to put his ongoing beef with Cuomo before human life in New York, taking umbrage over the governor’s previous statements of mistrust over any vaccine that the president himself would promote.

Cuomo’s not alone in that assessment; a September poll found that more than six in 10 Americans surveyed felt concerned about political pressure from Trump leading to premature approval of a vaccine, and more than half said they wouldn’t take a Trump-approved vaccine prior to Election Day.

“He doesn’t trust where the vaccine is coming from,” Trump added. “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.”

In fact, on Monday, after Pfizer announced promising results for its COVID-19 vaccine, Cuomo praised the progress. The governor also expressed skepticism, as he had done previously, over the Trump regime’s plan for distributing a vaccine through chain pharmacies and medical offices.

‘We trust the drug companies’

Responding to Trump’s remarks in a MSNBC interview, Cuomo stated that Trump “uses the government as a retaliatory tool. That’s what he does.”

“What the president says is just untrue,” Cuomo said in a follow-up interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

“We trust the drug companies. Pfizer is a great New York company; Regeneron is a great New York company. What the American people don’t trust is President Trump,” Cuomo added. 

Regeneron produced the experimental antibody cocktail that Trump took after he contracted COVID-19 in October.

Cuomo said the mistrust is with Trump’s politicizing the health process, which led to doubts among some that a Trump-approved vaccine would either be ineffective or harmful. To boost confidence in the vaccine, New York and other states are have created scientific panels to review the FDA’s approval of any vaccine or treatment.

“That will actually help build confidence in the vaccine, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Cuomo added. “There will be no delay. Our review will be simultaneous with delivery of the vaccine.”

The governor went on to say that he trusted the FDA, and that he doesn’t “think the FDA is going to play games at this point, so I don’t anticipate any issue.”

On the Pfizer vaccine, Trump said Friday he expects an emergency use authorization allowing for its distribution within weeks. The Pfizer vaccine was largely developed independently of “Operation Warp Speed,” the administration’s effort to expedite the creation of a COVID-19 inoculation.

Trump made his remarks as the country experiences yet another surge in COVID-19 cases. New York is not immune to the virus or the pandemic; cases have increased here in recent days, prompting Mayor Bill de Blasio to warn about the potential for closing public schools as early as Monday of next week. 

Still won’t concede to reality

After more than a week of attacking and undermining the electoral process that led to his defeat, Trump also appeared on Friday to acknowledge an impending changing of the guard at the White House.

“Ideally, we won’t go to a lockdown. I will not go, this administration will not be going to a lockdown,” he said in a Rose Garden address. “Hopefully the, the – uh – whatever happens in the future – who knows which administration will be. I guess time will tell,” he added.

In fact, President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election, and will take office with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Jan. 20, 2021 — when Trump’s term in office ends.

With Reuters reports.