Trump challenges CDC Director's timeline on coronavirus vaccine

President Trump on Wednesday argued against Dr. Robert Redfield's, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, assertion that a coronavirus vaccine will not be widely available until late 2021.

Video Transcript

- Mr. President, earlier today, Dr. Redfield confirmed that it looked like November, December the first doses would be able to be distributed, but then he said that the vaccine for the general public likely would not be available until probably next summer, maybe even early fall. Are you comfortable with that timeline?

DONALD TRUMP: No, I think he made a mistake when he said that. It's just incorrect information. And I called him, and he didn't tell me that. And I think he got the message maybe confused. Maybe it was stated incorrectly. No, we're ready to go immediately as the vaccine is announced, and it could be announced in October. It could be announced a little bit after October. But once we go, we're ready.

As you know, Pfizer's making this-- they're taking a tremendous financial risk, and they're spending billions of dollars on actually making this vaccine. They're in a stage where they're actually making it because they feel very confident as to the results. They'll be announcing their results fairly soon. And no, he's-- that's incorrect information.

- He was clear in the the way he said it.

DONALD TRUMP: Yeah, well, I think so, but I don't think he means that. I don't think he-- when he said it, I believe he was confused. I'm just telling you, we're ready to go as soon as the vaccine happens from.

- The core of Vice President Biden's argument is that you don't trust the scientists. You don't listen to them. And here up on the podium today, you're twice contradicting the director of your own CDC on the science who testified before Congress today.

DONALD TRUMP: No, he's contradicting himself.

- Why should the American people--

DONALD TRUMP: I think he misunderstood the question.

- Well, he was testifying under oath.

DONALD TRUMP: You know what I think?

- Why should the America people--

DONALD TRUMP: I think he misunderstood-- I told you. I don't have to go through this. I think he misunderstood the questions, but I'm telling you, here's the bottom line. Distribution is going to be very rapid. He may not know that. Maybe he's not aware of that, and maybe he's not dealing with the military, et cetera, like I do.

Distribution is going to be very rapid, and the vaccine is going to be very powerful. It's going to solve a tremendous problem. It's going to be very powerful.

- How can the American people trust you on the pandemic when you're contradicting the head of the CDC in your own administration?

DONALD TRUMP: Because of the great job we've done, because of the great things we've done in other fields also, because of the fact that we created ventilators-- we built ventilators by the thousands and now we're supplying to the world, because of all of the incredible work we've done for governors, who are on every call saying, this is incredible. This is great. This is great. Sometimes they're not quite as friendly at a news conference when you have people covering it.

But we have done a phenomenal job on COVID-19, as they like to call it. I call it other things. But we have done a phenomenal job. I get calls from other people in other countries. They can't believe the job we've done. And then they'll say, is there any way that you could get us ventilators? I say, how many do you need? 1,000 ventilators. I said, we'll be able to take care of it.

We're making thousands of ventilators-- very complex, very expensive, very difficult thing to make. We're making thousands a month. The cupboard was bare when I got here. And I will tell you, our distribution is going to be very rapid and very-- it's going to be all-encompassing. We are going to have a focus on certain groups that have problems-- senior citizens, et cetera-- but it's a very powerful-- it's going to be a very powerful distribution.

It's going to cover everybody, and it's going to cover them rapidly. I don't know whether or not the doctor knows that, how much he covers. But I called him because I said, why did you say that long? He wasn't that aware of it, and the other one was the mask.

The vaccine is going to have tremendous power. It's going to be extremely strong. It's going to be extremely successful. We're not going to have a problem. And the mask may help, and I hope it helps. And I think it probably does.

But again, the mask is a mixed bag. There are some people, professionals-- Scott, you would know a lot of them-- but there are some people that don't like the mask because of the touchiness and the touching and then you're touching everything else. They have-- they feel that masks have problems. So anyway, go ahead in the back, please.