Anthony Fauci, the president’s chief medical advisor, says he “just can’t explain” a White House tweet stating the COVID-19 vaccine wasn’t obtainable when President Joe Biden took workplace.
Fauci made the remarks Friday to CNN‘s Jake Tapper, who requested him in regards to the since corrected tweet that appeared to falsely give credit score to Biden for the vaccine’s growth. The trade comes because the Biden administration seeks to defend its report in opposition to withering criticism from political opponents.
During the section, Tapper pointed to a Thursday tweet from the White House stating that “when President Biden took office, millions were unemployed and there was no vaccine available.”
“But as you know, that’s not true,” mentioned Tapper. “There was a vaccine available, it might not have been widely available, but it was available.”
Tapper mentioned that CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale discovered that greater than 3 million Americans had been absolutely vaccinated and greater than 18 million had a minimum of one shot as of Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021.
“Why is the White House politicizing the pandemic by tweeting out that there was no vaccine available until Joe Biden became president?” requested Tapper. “It’s not true.”
“So you’re talking to the wrong person,” deflected Fauci. “I wasn’t involved in the tweet. I just can’t explain it. Sorry.”
Tapper responded by asking Fauci if he agreed it was necessary to have info in regards to the vaccine, “whether it’s from the Trump White House or the Biden White House,” and that the vaccine grew to become obtainable earlier than Biden was sworn in.
Fauci agreed, including, “I think from a pure accuracy, that’s not a correct statement.”
By Friday afternoon, the White House had corrected the tweet.
“We previously misstated that vaccines were unavailable in January 2021. We should have said that they were not widely available,” the White House mentioned in a follow-up tweet. “Vaccines became available shortly before the President came into office. Since then, he’s responsible for fully vaccinating over 200 million people.”
The vaccine was initially solely obtainable to individuals significantly susceptible to the virus due to a medical situation, their age or occupation.
Currently, 66.4 p.c of the U.S. inhabitants, 220 million individuals, is absolutely vaccinated, in keeping with numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Biden has seen sagging ballot numbers going into the 2022 midterm elections amid excessive inflation and gasoline costs. Seeking to stem attainable losses, the president and his allies have performed up his administration’s dealing with of the pandemic and the way the U.S. has seen record-low unemployment numbers since he took workplace.
Newsweek reached out to the White House for remark.