Donald Trump said during the second and final presidential debate on October 22 that he was optimistic a vaccine would be ready ‘within weeks’. When moderator Kristen Welker asked if that was a ‘guarantee’, Trump replied that it was not, but that the US would have a vaccine by the ‘end of the year’.
It wasn’t the first time he had made this prediction publicly: ‘I think we’re going to have a vaccine by the end of the year,’ Trump said back in May.
The media could have accepted that the President probably has better insight into the timeline of vaccine development and approval than those not involved in the process. Instead, they roundly mocked his prediction, declaring with the backing of so-called ‘experts’ that it would require a ‘miracle’ for the vaccine to be ready by 2021.
‘Fact check: Coronavirus vaccine could come this year, Trump says. Experts say he needs a “miracle” to be right,’ NBC News wrote in May.
‘Trump says COVID-19 vaccine is coming “within weeks.” Experts say that’s not possible,’ said the Miami Herald.
‘Contradicting the CDC, Trump says COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by end of year,’ NPR wrote.
‘President Trump says COVID-19 vaccine will be coming by the end of the year, despite contrary evidence,’ CNBC scoffed.
CNBC gets bonus points for its article, as when I visited their website on Friday night it was accompanied by a breaking news ticker indicating that Pfizer’s vaccine had just been approved for emergency use.
It turns out that Trump’s timeline was far more accurate than that of the CDC or any of the ‘experts’ cited in the reports above. Just a couple of weeks after that final presidential debate, Pfizer announced that it had completed its third phase of vaccine trials successfully. The FDA issued its first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine last week, nearly a month ahead of the end of the year. Distribution and inoculations began on Monday.
It’s no wonder that the media wanted to undermine Trump’s successful vaccination fast track program, Operation Warp Speed, ahead of the election. Many Americans cited the handling of the pandemic as a key voting issue. It would have hurt Biden immensely if Americans were made to be optimistic about Trump delivering a vaccine so quickly.
So the media employed the assistance of the ‘experts’, who also despise Trump because he doesn’t depend on them for his entire policy agenda like past presidents, to trash the idea that the vaccine would be ready by the end of the year. Never mind that these same people had been wrong about nearly everything related to the pandemic. They discouraged buying masks, only to advocate for mask mandates months later. They ignored the negative externalities of a nationwide lockdown, insisting that the public health and economic damage from such policies was necessary to slow the spread. They claimed Black Lives Matter protests and antifa riots were necessary and safe, but that Trump rallies were super-spreader events. They insisted that reopening schools would kill teachers en masse even though all available data now shows that in-person learning is perfectly safe.
It’s really no surprise that the media and the experts were incorrect again. Their desperation to disprove everything Trump says makes the truth seem far less important.