Prior to the announcement of those breakthroughs, the president had brainstormed with aides and close associates about ways he could promote the vaccine to the American people. According to two individuals with direct knowledge of his private comments, the president had said he envisioned large, public, mask-free events—particularly when the weather grew warmer in, what he anticipated to be, a second term—and rallies to celebrate the successes of Operation Warp Speed, the public-private partnership to develop a vaccine. When distribution began, Trump had wanted to be directly involved in the vaccine’s promotion, gaming out a video campaign about the safety and success of his operation.
Trump also mused about holding a public, televised event or news conference in which he’d proudly brandish and read from a list of headlines, articles, and TV coverage that had either underestimated him or raised doubts about Operation Warp Speed’s timeline.
“The president has been looking forward to showing that he was right and the media was wrong,” one of the sources described.
But many of those plans are scuttled now. Come late January, President-elect Joe Biden will be leader of the free world, and the West Wing communications apparatus won’t be focused on amplifying Trump’s bragging any longer. According to two people who’ve spoken to the president about it, he’s grown preemptively annoyed that Biden will try to “steal” credit from him for life-saving vaccine developments.