White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows asserted on Thursday morning that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield didn’t have his facts straight when he told Congress that a COVID-19 vaccine wouldn’t be widely available until 2021, contradicting President Donald Trump’s insistence that the vaccine would be ready in October.
When the hosts of “Fox and Friends” asked who was correct, Meadows claimed it was Trump “based on what I know behind the scenes, how quickly we’re moving on the clinical trials.”
“I think that we’ll at least have some results in October,” the White House senior official said. “And as we start to look at those results, I can tell you the President is pushing very hard to make sure that we’re delivering a vaccine before the end of the year.”
“So I’m not sure where Dr. Redfield got his particular timetable, but it’s not based on those that are closest to the process,” he added.
During a hearing in front of the Senate on Wednesday, Redfield testified that a vaccine for the virus would not be “fully available to the American public” until next year, past Trump’s desired timeline of October, aka before Election Day.
“I think we are probably looking at late second quarter, third quarter 2021,” the CDC director told lawmakers.
Trump pushed back against Redfield’s remarks several hours later, telling reporters during a press briefing that the doctor had “made a mistake when he said that.”
“I called him and he didn’t tell me that, and I think he got the message maybe confused,” the President said. During an interview on Fox Sports Radio Thursday morning, Trump claimed the vaccine would be coming in a matter of weeks.
The CDC did not immediately respond to TPM’s request for comment.
Watch Meadows below:
Meadows claims Redfield’s assertion that a COVID-19 vaccine won’t be available until 2021 is “not based on those that are closest to the process.” pic.twitter.com/Rd5bOQQ0fy
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 17, 2020