Was this just a “verbal stumble,” or an outright lie to boost his own standing on COVID-19 vaccinations? Last night in CNN’s town hall meeting, Joe Biden told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that vaccines can only impact the pandemic if we have enough “vaccinators,” which is true enough. However, Biden then told Cooper that not only were there no vaccinators when he came into office, but there were no vaccines either.
That prompted the ire of former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Here’s the short clip, followed by the full exchange from the transcript:
Biden says there was no vaccine when he came into office.
That is abjectly FALSE. President Trump brought about the fastest vaccine for a novel pathogen in history.
How does Joe get away with this? pic.twitter.com/OcFeVbQ3At
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) February 17, 2021
COOPER: So if at the end of April, excuse me, end of July they’re available to actually get them in the arms of people who want them, that will take what, a couple more months?
BIDEN: Well, no, a lot will be vaccinated in the meantime.
BIDEN: In other words, not just all of a sudden 600 million doses are going to appear. And what’s going to happen is it’s going to continue to increase as we move along. And we’ll have — we’ll have reached 400 million by the end of May and 600 million by the middle of — by the end of July.
And the biggest thing, though, as you remember when you and I, I shouldn’t say it that way, as remember, but when you and I talked last, we talked about it’s one thing to have the vaccine, which we didn’t have when we came into office, but a vaccinator. How do you get the vaccine into someone’s arm?
So you need the paraphernalia. You need the needle. You need the mechanisms to be able to get it in. You have to have people who can inject it in people’s arms.
Ahem. This is a nonsense claim, and no one should know that better than Biden himself — who got vaccinated almost two month ago, a full month before coming into office:
CNN on December 21, 2020: pic.twitter.com/WyVIMTDXgE
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 17, 2021
So is this a lie? Not so fast, says the otherwise estimable Glenn Kessler (via Twitchy):
It was a verbal stumble, a typical Biden gaffe, as he had already mentioned 50 million doses being available when he took office. Ex Trump officials should especially cool the outrage meter, as it just looks silly. https://t.co/HFjH01lXgH
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) February 17, 2021
A search of the transcript finds no mention at all of “50 million” doses available. Furthermore, this has nothing to do with Biden’s gaffiness, nor is it a result of Biden’s “stutter,” as others have tried to pass this off. Not only did Biden claim not to have vaccines, he claimed we didn’t have the “vaccinators” too. When Joe Biden took office, the US had hit a pace of one million vaccinations a day, a pace that Biden himself has struggled to maintain. That’s a lot of “vaccinators” that preceded Biden’s assumption of office.
This is nothing more than a bald attempt to rewrite reality to promote a narrative that credits Biden’s administration with every success on COVID-19 while assigning every failure to Donald Trump. At the moment, it looks like the fact-checking industry wants to play along, too, even though this a four-Pinocchio example of malarkey, to use Biden’s own favorite word. Come on, man.