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President updates world on vaccine, calls Cuomo’s bluff over refusal to give it to New Yorkers until it’s vetted better

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President Trump gave a news conference on Friday to update the nation on the status of the COVID-19 vaccine, its release, and its distribution. The media pounced when the president stated that he would only send the vaccine to New York once Governor Andrew Cuomo approved it, ostensibly because this is a state issue. Just recently Cuomo has made statements that he does not trust any vaccine coming from Trump and that is developed in conjunction with Operation Warp Speed.

Trump made it clear in his speech that he wants New York to get the vaccine just as he wants the rest of the nation to start receiving it as quickly as possible. He is only hesitant on sending it to New York because New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo said last month that Americans “should” be “very skeptical” about taking any COVID-19 vaccine developed by the FDA under the Trump administration. Cuomo also stated that he is going to have his own experts review the vaccine to see if he’ll allow New Yorkers to receive it.

“Well, what I said I’m going to do in New York is we’re going to put together our own group of doctors and medical experts to review the vaccine and the efficacy and the protocol, and if they say it’s safe then I’ll go to the people of New York and I will say it’s safe with that credibility,” Cuomo said. “But I believe all across the country, you’re going to need someone other than this FDA and this CDC saying it’s safe.”

“We can’t let this vaccination plan go forward the way the Trump administration is designing it because Biden can’t undo it two months later, we’ll be in the midst of it,” Cuomo told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an interview with “Good Morning America” on Monday.

“And I’m going — I’ve been talking to governors across the nation about that; how can we shape the Trump administration vaccine plan to fix it, or stop it before it does damage.”

The media spun Trump getting permission from Cuomo as a threat to New York. From Mediaite: “Donald Trump threatened to withhold the Pfizer coronavirus from distribution in New York State in final two months of his presidency until Gov. Andrew Cuomo personally accepted it.”

On Friday night Cuomo responded to Trump’s announcement, describing Trump as a ‘bully’.

“He tries to bully people – he tries to bully governors, he uses government as a retaliatory tool,” Cuomo stated to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

“None of what he says is true. Surprise, surprise. As soon as Trump delivers me a dose, I will be ready to administer it. Period.”

“I’m not going to let a bully push New Yorkers around, period.”

Cuomo has come under heavy fire for his handling of the pandemic in New York state and the many, many deaths in nursing homes that followed the coronavirus outbreak there.

At his press conference, Trump said:

“As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population with the exception of places like New York state, where, for political reasons, the governor decided to say – and [you know], I don’t think it’s good politically, I think it’s very bad from a health standpoint, but he wants to take his time with the vaccine. He doesn’t trust where the vaccine’s coming from. 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.”

“This is a very successful, amazing vaccine at 90% and more, but so the governor, Governor Cuomo, will have to let us know when he’s ready for it, otherwise we can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people immediately. And I know the people of New York very well. I know they want it. So the governor will let us know when he’s ready. He’s had some very bad editorials recently about this statement and what’s happened with respect to nursing homes and his handling of nursing homes, and I hope he doesn’t handle this as badly as he’s handled the nursing homes, but we’re ready to provide it as soon as they let us know that they’ll actually use it.”

The president insisted he would never put the U.S. into another coronavirus lockdown but said “time will tell” if another administration takes office in January and does so. “Ideally, we won’t go to a lockdown. I will not go, this administration will not be going to a lockdown,” he said.

Trump’s insistence his administration will not issue a lockdown comes just two days after Dr. Michael Osterholm, Biden’s coronavirus advisor, said he believes shutting down businesses nationally for four to six weeks could prevent the U.S. from entering ‘COVID hell’.

Trump said he expected a coronavirus vaccine to be available for the entire population as soon as April.

The media and New York Attorney General Letitia James immediately tried to spin Trump’s remarks as an example of playing politics with the pandemic and as a vendetta against Cuomo. Others on the left were quick to pick up those talking points.

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