Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to the White House’s COVID team, on Thursday applauded the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed for the “record time” in which the COVID vaccine was developed, after months of Biden administration officials claiming they had been forced to start from scratch on vaccine distribution efforts.
“We’re grateful for the work that came before us and are doing the best we can to continue it and accelerate it,” Slavitt said on Fox News. “I would absolutely tip my hat. … The Trump administration made sure that we got in record time a vaccine up and out. That’s a great thing and it’s something we should all be excited about.”
The comment contradicts other Biden administration officials who have claimed their predecessors left them “a mess” of a vaccine rollout. The president has previously called Trump’s vaccine distribution a “dismal failure.”
“The sad part is the last administration didn’t leave anything. They didn’t leave a plan,” Biden senior adviser Cedric Richmond told CNN in January. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said “the process to distribute the vaccine, particularly outside of nursing homes and hospitals out into the community as a whole, did not really exist when we came into the White House.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki similarly called the vaccine situation that the new administration had inherited “much worse than we could have imagined.”
As National Review has previously reported, a look at the Bloomberg vaccine tracker shortly after Biden took office reveals that on the last day of the Trump administration more than 1.5 million Americans were vaccinated. The Biden administration inherited a system that had already reached a pace that would meet the president’s goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.
Slavitt said Thursday that the Biden administration hadn’t been trying to “point fingers.”