Chuck Todd corners Biden’s chief of staff on vaccine rollout ‘contradiction’
NBC’s Chuck Todd on Meet the Press put White House Chief of Staff, Ron Klain, on the spot concerning the administration’s claims that they were forced to build a new strategy from the ground up to combat the coronavirus.
Biden’s team previously stated that the Trump administration had no plans to roll out the coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared to completely debunk CNN’s much-criticized report making that claim.
Todd immediately went after Klain and said “let me start with a contradiction or a potential contradiction.” Todd pointed out that President Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force leader, Jeff Zients, was recently reported saying that the team had to develop a COVID vaccine distribution program “from scratch.” On the other hand, Fauci disputed that by telling White House reporters “no, we’re not building it from scratch.”
“Give me an assessment now after three or four days of this of what you inherited in this vaccine distribution program,” Todd asked Klain.
Klain went on to say defensively that “those two statements actually reconcile more than you might think.”
He argued that Fauci was speaking of the rapid scientific breakthroughs that led to the creation of COVID vaccines, whereas Zients was addressing the complications that have arisen for mass distribution. His point was apparently that Trump failed in his handling of the COVID vaccination rollout.
“We have seen the initial wave of vaccinations take place. So that is progress we are building on. There’s no question about it,” Klain said. “But the process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House. As everyone in America has seen, the way in which people get vaccines is chaotic. It’s very limited. We’ve seen this factor all over the country where millions of doses have been distributed. About half of that has been given out. So the process of getting that vaccine into arms, that’s the hard process. That’s where we’re behind as a country and that’s where we’re focused in the Biden administration on getting that ramped up.”
Todd continued to press Klain on the issue by asking “where is the bottleneck” between distribution and actually administering the vaccine to people. Klain responded that Biden is ordering the federal government to increase the number of resources available to states while working with manufacturers and Congress to ramp up production
“The fundamental difference between the Biden approach and the Trump approach is that we’re going to take responsibility at the federal government,” Klain stated. “We’re going to own this problem. We’re going to work closely with the states. They are our key partners in getting this done. But we’re also going to do the work ourselves.”
Three days here: we've taken concrete steps on the pandemic and the economic fallout, every day. https://t.co/L9PvQgXM4j
— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) January 22, 2021
Klain also emphasized the Biden administration’s goal of getting 100 million coronavirus vaccinations administered in Biden’s first 100 days.
While Klain called the aim “bold,” he said it is just an opening benchmark to show the American people they are moving quickly to vaccinate the country.
“One-hundred million shots is a bold, ambitious goal, but we need to keep going after that. That is our first goal, it’s not our final goal, it’s not the endpoint, it’s just a metric the American people can watch and measure how we are doing.”
Under new management. https://t.co/Ce8YcBmnRf
— Ronald Klain (@WHCOS) January 24, 2021
Biden’s new CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky also slammed the Trump administration during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
“I would say one of the biggest problems right now is I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have, and if I can’t tell it to you then I can’t tell it to the governors and I can’t tell it to the state health officials,” Walensky said. “If they don’t know how much vaccine they’re getting, not just this week but next week and the week after, they can’t plan.”
“The fact that we don’t know today, five days into this administration and weeks into planning, how much vaccine we have just gives you a sense with the challenges we’ve been left with,” she continued.
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