Republicans cheered Sen. Tim Scott’s response to Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress, but the media response was just as predictable. Karen will have something a bit later about the response to Scott’s primary theme on race and unity, but let’s not skip over Nicolle Wallace’s ironic slap at Scott for “a speech delivered from a planet where facts don’t matter.”
And then Wallace proceeded to demonstrate that MSNBC is a platform where facts don’t matter:
WALLACE: This is a speech delivered from a planet where facts don’t matter, which is where the current Republican Party resides, so it’s not really his fault. But it is his responsibility to get his facts straight. He said this, ‘That Biden had inherited a country that had already rounded the bend on COVID.’ 4,000 people a day were dying in January, so I don’t know, again, on what planet we had rounded the bend.
And Operation Warp Speed didn’t do anything to get a needle into an arm. So a lot of disinformation. It felt almost scripted by someone close to the president who wanted that revision of history.
Wallace was working on the fly, so her misquote of Scott’s speech is understandable, but that’s not quite what Scott said. He said the tide had turned because of the vaccine:
This should be a joyful springtime for our nation. This Administration inherited a tide that had already turned. The coronavirus is on the run! Thanks to Operation Warp Speed and the Trump Administration, our country is flooded with safe and effective vaccines. Thanks to our bipartisan work last year, job openings are rebounding.
The tide had turned at that point because vaccines are the only weapon we have that could end the pandemic. That’s clearly what Scott meant, and the data support that, both in the number of cases, which plummeted after vaccines began to be distributed:
And in deaths, the seven-day average of which peaked at just under 3500 a day on January 13:
But what about vaccinations? Did Operation Warp Speed and the Trump administration fail to “do anything to get a needle into an arm”? The CDC’s own data shows that to be absurd:
By the date that Biden took the oath of office, the US had injected 21,995,152 doses. The seven-day vaccination rate average was over one million per day by January 20. In fact, Joe Biden himself had already received two doses of the vaccine by that time.
None of that happened by accident. Operation Warp Speed did more than just incentivize development of the vaccine — it also planned logistics for production, storage, and delivery. OWS sought out and cemented private-sector partnerships as well as coordinated with states on distribution and delivery priorities. It also included money for the supplies necessary for vaccinations, such as syringes and vials, and Trump himself used the Defense Production Act on several occasions to ensure adequate supplies for all of the above. All of that was specifically to ensure needles got into arms as fast as possible — and 22 million arms in five weeks shows that the effort paid off.
It’s utterly absurd to claim that Trump and OWS didn’t do anything to get needles into arms. While OWS wasn’t perfect — the Trump administration dropped the ball on COVID-19 test development, for instance — it delivered magnificently on vaccines, production, and delivery. In fact, it did so well that Biden’s stuck with that playbook for the past three months, and for good reason. His only innovation — federal vaccination centers — faded quickly from the scene, being costly and far less efficient than the vaccination partnerships set up by OWS.
The only people living on a planet where facts don’t matter are in this MSNBC clip. Perhaps they should avail themselves of the easily available data first before spreading misinformation of their own.