Cuomo: Trump Driven by Ego to Get COVID-19 Vaccine Emergency Authorization

By Melanie Arter | November 18, 2020 | 12:31pm EST
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 6 ,2020 in New York City, where he announced that President Donald Trump is enabling the coronavirus pandemic by not wearing a mask and downplaying the problem. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference on July 6 ,2020 in New York City, where he announced that President Donald Trump is enabling the coronavirus pandemic by not wearing a mask and downplaying the problem. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

( – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday that President Donald Trump is driven by ego to get a COVID-19 vaccine approved for emergency use and distributed to the public as soon as possible, because he wants to claim credit for getting it down before former Vice President Joe Biden takes office.

In an interview with New York City’s Hot 97 “Ebro in the Morning,” Cuomo also said vaccine companies are driven by money, because the first drug company that gets a vaccine on the market stands to make billions of dollars. 

“Why is it moving so fast? Two reasons: money and ego. The first drug company that has the vaccine, that is big money. You didn’t need Trump to tell the vaccine companies you should develop a vaccine. He had nothing to do with it. Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson, they all know this is billions of dollars, whoever gets to the market first. So it’s in their economic interest to push this fast,” he said.

“President, it’s ego. On the way out the door, he wants to be able to say, I solved COVID because I discovered a vaccine. No, it’s all B.S. He didn’t do anything. It’s the drug companies, and nobody’s going to trust him saying it’s a safe vaccine, but you’re going to see this play out. They’ll do what’s called an emergency authorization by the FDA,” the governor said.

“I think that could happen as soon as January where the FDA - because Trump will push them - will say, we authorize the drug for emergency use, and you could see it starting in January before Biden gets into office, and that’s why I’m pushing so hard to make sure that we have a process in place to check what the FDA says before people start getting the vaccine in New York,” he added.

As previously reported, Pfizer was awarded $1.95 billion for “large-scale manufacturing and nationwide distribution of 100 million doses of their vaccine candidate” as part of Operation Warp Speed.

Cuomo is threatening to sue the Trump administration to ensure an “equitable” vaccine distribution so that “black and brown communities” and low-income communities receive it.

“I’m saying we need a vaccine distribution plan that gets into those poor communities, where we have teams going into public housing projects, teams going into low-income communities. That’s what I did with COVID testing. This should be the most massive army ever assembled in this country to get this vaccine to people. That takes money, and the Trump administration doesn’t want to give the states money to do it,” Cuomo told the morning show.

The governor, who will reportedly get a $25,000 pay raise from the state legislature despite state’s $63 billion budget shortfall, said he’s “broke” and needs the federal government to provide funding.

“I would pay, but I’m broke, because the Trump administration also has not been funding state governments. That’s that whole fight about the stimulus, but it takes billions of dollars to do this right. His own federal CDC says it takes $6 billion to distribute the vaccine, and Trump won’t provide any funding. That will leave the black and brown community out of the vaccine process,” Cuomo said.

“So when the president of the United States gets up and speaks for the first time since losing his election and spends half of his time attacking you and saying he’s not going to be able to give vaccinations to New York state, because you’re disagreeable and you don’t respect the White House. What’s your message back to Trump and the Trump administration on that?” morning show co-host Peter Rosenberg asked.

“I say you’re not going to shut me up. You’re not going to silence me. You’re not going to bully New Yorkers. It just doesn’t work, Ebro,” Cuomo said, addressing the show’s co-host Ebro Darden. “I’m a lifetime New Yorker. I was born, I was raised here. You’re not going to put your finger in my chest and think that I take a step back. That’s not what New Yorkers do. 

“That’s his tactic. I’ve dealt with this man for four years, right? I knew him from New York before that. If you criticize him, he goes on TV or he tweets, and he gets nasty, and everybody shuts up, because they don’t want to fight with the president. I have no problem fighting with the president, and I’m not going to let him abuse the people of New York state,” the governor said.

As previously reported, Trump said last week that “Governor Cuomo will have to let us know when he is ready for it. Otherwise, we can't be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people immediately.”

Trump was reacting to Cuomo, calling Trump’s vaccination plan “flawed” and saying he couldn’t let it go forward the way the administration is designing it.

“The bad news is that it’s about two months before Joe Biden takes over, and this means [the Trump] administration is going to be implementing a vaccine plan,” Cuomo told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Monday.

“What he was saying is, his latest threat was, well I’m not giving New York state the vaccine, because Cuomo says he doesn’t trust the vaccine. It’s not that I don’t trust the vaccine. Fifty percent of the American people – Pew poll, Kaiser poll, ABC poll, CNN poll – 50 percent say they believe Trump politicized the approval process for this vaccine. That’s 50 percent of the people,” Cuomo told “Ebro in the Morning.”

“If you don’t answer that question, Ebro. No one’s taking the vaccine, and the vaccine is no good if people are unwilling to take it, so you have to build up the trust,” the governor said. “What I said, and seven other states said, we’ll set up a medical panel of New Yorkers. 

“The head of our panel is a Nobel Prize laureate, and they’ll review the approval that the FDA did to make sure it’s safe, and then I can say to New Yorkers, ‘It’s safe. You don’t have to trust Trump, because we don’t, but we had our own panel. They say it’s safe, and now we’re going to administer, because it’s safe, and by the way I’ll be the first person to take the vaccine,’” he said. 

“This trust issue’s going to be a big issue. It’s going to be a bigger issue with the black and brown community. I can’t tell you how many people have come to me and talked about the Tuskegee experiment,” Cuomo said.

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