By: Rep. Madison Cawthorn is the U.S. representative for North Carolina’s 11th District. He serves on the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
President Joe Biden has been taking a bit of a victory lap lately. He is telling the nation that we will have enough vaccine supply for every adult by the end of May and that his administration is on track to meet his stated goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days.
According to Biden, this success has sprouted ex nihilo—out of nothing. His administration discounts all efforts but its own. And even though Biden campaigned on bringing Americans together, he allows his unelected staff to gratuitously violate that promise. As press secretary Jen Psaki recently said, “I don’t think anyone deserves credit when half a million people in the country have died of this pandemic.”
Not classy, Joe.
In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, Psaki’s claim is heavily misleading. As ABC News explained, “Biden’s playbook for vaccine distribution has relied heavily on a system created by the Trump administration, including federal partnerships with state officials and agreements with local pharmacies. In fact, the federal pharmacy program created by President Donald Trump aides is what Biden relied on last week to expand eligibility to teachers.”
The normal process of vaccine research is laborious and lengthy, but less than a year into a worldwide pandemic, we now have lines of people waiting for the vaccine to a novel virus. That would be impossible without herculean efforts prior to January. Biden, however, has seen fit to deny the achievements of his predecessor.
The simple fact is this: The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed is the reason we are now on the cusp of fully reopening.
Biden is guilty of other unfortunate and misleading statements. For instance, The Associated Press notes that the Biden administration’s claim of a single-day record of vaccinations was off by nearly 1.5 million, and that administration officials had dramatically overstated the percentage of individuals that had been vaccinated since he took office by more than 64%. These heavily incorrect statements are just the tip of the iceberg.
Operation Warp Speed is an ode to an America many thought had disappeared, a public-private partnership that turned the entire genius of American minds and industry toward combatting and eventually eradicating this terrible virus. The success of Operation Warp Speed proved, once again, that Americans can rise to any challenge and conquer.
The initial task of Operation Warp Speed—coordinating the process of vaccine research in several companies against a backdrop of a devastating pandemic—was daunting, and nearly impossible. Against all odds and expectations, Operation Warp Speed succeeded.
Biden dealt in wink-and-nod vaccine skepticism for political purposes when he was a candidate, and now celebrates the benefits of the program without giving proper due. That behavior is galling, and hypocritical.
It is in the nature of politicians to take credit for any and all things that go right, while passing the blame when things go wrong. Accepting this abhorrent behavior as normal “politics as usual” is a mistake. Accepting obfuscation and a slew of misleading statements as a normal part of the political process leads us to ambivalence and lethargy instead of passion and involvement. We must return to radical accountability, because the truth matters.
It may be uncomfortable for Biden and his handlers in the White House to admit it, but the vaccine program that they now promote is built atop an edifice that his predecessor built previously. If acknowledging that fact causes consternation in progressive circles, so be it. Facts don’t care about feelings.
And the credit for Operation Warp Speed goes way beyond Trump. Thousands took part in Operation Warp Speed without any regard for politics or credit. They were angling to save lives, not win a political argument.
If you or someone you love has been vaccinated, thank Operation Warp Speed. If your favorite business has reopened, thank Operation Warp Speed. When this country finally reopens fully and we can speak about COVID-19 as a thing of the past, thank the brave and hardworking public servants that made Operation Warp Speed possible.
And, yes, thank former President Donald Trump.