NBC News’ White House correspondent Peter Alexander pushed White House press secretary Jen Psaki on why the administration won’t give former President Donald Trump credit for the vaccine.
Alexander said during Friday’s press briefing that President Joe Biden’s address to the nation on the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 shutdown failed to credit Trump, as the vaccines were developed under his administration’s Operation Warp Speed.
“Of course, he [Biden] spent a lot of time touting the success of vaccines, yet there was no mention of the president under whose administration vaccines were developed,” Alexander noted. “Does former President Donald Trump not deserve any credit on vaccines?” (RELATED: Jen Psaki: Trump Admin Doesn’t Deserve Credit For Vaccines ‘When Half A Million People In The Country Have Died Of This Pandemic’)
Psaki said that the administration has already “conveyed that” the progress “made on these vaccines was a Herculean incredible effort by science and by medical experts,” failing to include Trump and his administration in the compliment. She also touted the Biden administration and said that there are “clear” differences and steps “that have been taken” since he took office.
“Leadership starts a the top,” Psaki continued as she made an apparent dig at Trump. “It includes mask-wearing, it includes acknowledging there is a pandemic, it includes getting a vaccine in public. But even more importantly than that, it includes putting in place an operational process that can ensure that we have enough vaccines to vaccinate Americans, enough vaccinators, enough vaccine locations.”
“None of that was in place when the president took office,” Psaki said.
Alexander responded by noting that although Psaki had fair points, the vaccines were developed under Operation Warp Speed – a partnership that, as Alexander said, was “invented, executed” and “initiated” under Trump. He continued on to provide a sample alternative speech that Biden could have given “in the spirit of bipartisanship and unity” and asked Psaki why Biden didn’t credit the previous administration.
“Why not just say, ‘With credit to the previous administration and the former president for putting us in this position. We are glad that we have been able to move it forward?'” Alexander asked.
Psaki praised Alexander’s speech-writing skills and reiterated her previous comments, adding that Biden has given credit to the last administration in the past. She argued that the purpose of Thursday’s speech was “to give an update on what” Biden’s administration is doing with regards to the pandemic.
Alexander continued to press and noted that the speech, according to Biden, was also meant “to bring all Americans together.”
“Of course it is, but I would say that Americans are looking for facts, they’re looking for details, they’re looking for specifics, and I don’t think they’re worried too much about applause from six months ago when the president has already delivered that publicly,” Psaki responded.