Biden praises Trump for Operation Warp Speed, getting COVID booster

Biden praises Trump for Operation Warp Speed, getting COVID booster

WASHINGTON — President Biden praised former President Donald Trump Tuesday for publicly saying he received a COVID-19 booster shot, and credited his predecessor’s administration with helping create vaccines against the deadly virus.

“Just the other day former President Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot — maybe one of the few things he and I agree on,” Biden said at the White House. “People with booster shots are highly protected. Join them, join us.”

Trump confirmed Sunday at an event with Bill O’Reilly that “yes” he got a booster shot — before dismissing a smattering of boos.

“There’s a very tiny group over there,” Trump said in response to jeers at the Dallas event.

Trump’s administration also helped develop the three US-approved COVID-19 vaccines by pouring billions into research and development through Operation Warp Speed, a fact Biden also noted in his remarks.

“Let me be clear,” the president said. “Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America was one of the first countries to get the vaccine. Thanks to my administration and the hard work of Americans, we led a rollout that made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms.”

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden says predecessor Donald Trump getting the COVID-19 booster shot is “one of the few things he and I agree on.”
AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Pfizer was the first company to reveal its vaccine was highly effective against the original strain of the coronavirus, saying six days after the Nov. 2020 election that it had efficacy of more than 90 percent against infection after two doses.

Biden and Trump have had no public interactions this year and Trump skipped Biden’s inauguration two weeks after a mob of his supporters stormed the US Capitol to disrupt the certification of Biden’s win in the Electoral College. In fundraising appeals, Trump has called on Biden to “resign in disgrace.”

Former President Donald Trump
President Joe Biden credited former President Donald Trump with helping the US jumpstart its COVID-19 vaccine rollout last year.
AP Photo/Ben Gray, File

The COVID-19 vaccine rollout began in December 2020, when Trump was president and he frequently boasts of his role in pushing federal officials to move quickly.

Biden defeated Trump after campaigning on bringing better management to the pandemic — though Biden found himself fending off questions Tuesday about why it took so long to expand testing for the virus as the new Omicron variant increasingly eludes vaccines.

Visitors walks through artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg's "In America: Remember," a temporary art installation made up of white flags to commemorate Americans who have died of COVID-19, on the National Mall.
More than 800,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 as of Dec. 14, 2021.
AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

“What took so long is, it didn’t take long at all,” Biden scoffed. “What happened was the Omicron virus spread even more rapidly than anybody thought. If I had told you four weeks ago that this would spread — by a day to day basis — it would spread by 50, 100 percent, 200 percent, 500 percent, I think you would have looked at me and said, ‘Biden, what are you drinking?’ ”

Biden last year slammed Trump’s pandemic leadership and claimed he would “shut down the virus” if elected.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines sit ready for use at a Dallas County Health and Human Services drive up vaccine site in Mesquite, Texas, Nov. 30, 2021.
Pfizer started rolling out its two dose COVID-19 vaccine after the 2020 presidential election.
AP Photo/LM Otero, File

“Donald Trump wants to style himself as a wartime president. Unlike any other wartime leader, he takes no responsibility,” Biden said last year. “He exercises no leadership, now he has just flat surrendered the fight.”

The US this month crossed 800,000 COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic — with about half of them taking place under Trump and half occurring under Biden. Both men have been forced to manage the pandemic for approximately the same period of time in office.

DeMarcus Hicks, a recent graduate of nursing school who is working as a contractor with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, gives a person a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster shot, Monday, Dec. 20, 2021,
President Joe Biden hopes more Americans get the COVID-19 booster shot following Donald Trump’s announcement.
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

The Omicron variant has caused record numbers of new coronavirus cases in New York — exceeding even the first wave of infections in early 2020 — and it is beginning to spread rapidly across the country.

Even mask-wearers who received a booster shot — including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) — fell ill this week.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.,
Sen. Elizabeth Warren tested positive for COVID-19 despite receiving three vaccine doses.
AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Pfizer says that preliminary research indicates that the company’s COVID-19 vaccine works against the Omicron variant, especially after three doses. Pfizer said three doses gives people the same approximate level of protection as two doses did against the original coronavirus strain. Two doses of the company’s vaccine were about 95 percent effective against transmission of the original strain.

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