Trump Pinky Swears He’s Not Bogarting All The COVID-19 Vaccine
Donald Trump declared Sunday that he and his team of incompetents at the White House are heroically not jumping the line for the COVID-19 vaccine, as the New York Times had previously reported. This was after a Trump administration official claimed White House staff would be among the “first wave" of people to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
"Senior officials across all three branches of government will receive vaccinations pursuant to continuity of government protocols established in executive policy," National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said in a statement.
This news pissed off folks who believed vaccine distribution should prioritize essential workers and the elderly or just otherwise decent human beings. Trump's White House has spread the coronavirus like gossip at a church picnic. His inner circle mostly refuses to wear masks and model responsible behavior. Even now, Trump insists on holding Christmas parties for the damned that ignore warnings from his own health experts to limit travel and avoid gathering in large groups of assholes. The guests at the packed events wander around maskless, callously endangering the lives of White House service personnel.
One Trump official laughably suggested early inoculations for Trump's staff were "a necessary resource for those continuity personnel across the executive branch to meet their continuity-focused roles and responsibilities." What this person was trying to express in what vaguely resembled a sentence is that the current White House serves some vital function in the running of our government. That seems like a stretch.
Trump's incapable of shame, so it's unclear what changed his mind. Maybe he heard the vaccine involved needles and wasn't merely a pill someone would break apart and hide in his applesauce. It's also possible he's lying and those close to him have already received the vaccine.
You can tell when Trump's tweets are likely composed by someone else because they read less like ransom notes. The phrase “unless specifically necessary" also gives wiggle room to explain why Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner might receive the vaccine before anyone else. White House staff who work in close quarters with Trump are expected to receive the vaccine soon. Let's hope this includes the residence staff and not just his legal team.
Trump claims he is “not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time." Even though Trump has already contracted the virus and recovered, there would presumably be some national benefit if he took the vaccine publicly. It might encourage his supporters to do the same, so they don't run around insisting the vaccine is some liberal plot to immunize them from rightwing propaganda and obvious lies.
In related news, during an appearance on Sunday's "Face the Nation," Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar denied there was any major delay in vaccinating residents of long-term care facilities.
"We're not actually asking the nursing homes to wait. And we were able to have a really good discussion with CVS leadership about this misunderstanding that they had at the president's vaccine distribution summit," Azar said, stating that vaccinations can start "really any day" and adding that all nursing home residents could be vaccinated by Christmas.
It's not surprising “misunderstandings" emerged from Trump's vaccine summit, considering he spent most of it whining about his election loss and spreading debunked conspiracy theories about widespread voter fraud.
Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Robert Garrett and former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb both confirm there is a real delay. Although Trump has boasted that the first vaccine was administered today, nursing home residents aren't expected to receive it until next week at the earliest, so they wouldn't be vaccinated by Christmas as full immunization requires two doses taken three weeks apart. Dr. Gottlieb points out that this is a very “costly delay."
"There [are] 50,000 new infections in nursing homes every week right now, probably more than that. And we know 20% of people in the nursing homes who are infected will succumb to the infection. So, there's a lot of death happening in these nursing homes," he said on "Face the Nation."
This is a pressing issue Trump should've focused on instead of wasting time fighting reality and change. Although, that is fairly on brand for conservatism in general.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."