WASHINGTON — Sen. Kamala Harris criticized President Donald Trump’s push to have a coronavirus vaccine ready for distribution before Election Day, painting the president as willing to use his power for political advantage.
“I would not trust Donald Trump and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about. I will not take his word for it,” Harris, D-Calif., said in an interview with CNN.
Harris, Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, also expressed skepticism that health experts would get the final say on the safety and efficacy of a vaccine.
“They’ll be muzzled, they’ll be suppressed, they will be sidelined because he’s looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days and he’s grasping to get whatever he can to pretend he has been a leader on this issue when he is not,” she says.
Trump, who continues to trail Biden in the polls as he seeks re-election during a global pandemic, has been accused of pressuring health officials to speed up the timeline for a coronavirus vaccine to have it ready for public use before November.
“We remain on track to deliver a vaccine before the end of the year and maybe even before Nov. 1. We think we can probably have it sometime during the month of October,” Trump said at the White House on Friday.
Health experts have said Trump’s desired timeline is incredibly unrealistic.
Biden and Harris have sought to make Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic front and center of their campaign.
Biden on Friday said Trump’s response to the outbreak had been a “failure” simply because “he doesn’t care.”
Nearly 190,000 people in the U.S. have died from the coronavirus and there have been more than 6.2 million confirmed infections.
Biden will travel to Pennsylvania on Monday where he will participate in a virtual event at the AFL-CIO headquarters to recognize Labor Day.