President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchumer calls for investigation into reports of campaign finance improprieties by DeJoy’s former company McCarthy told Trump trashing mail-in voting will hurt Republicans: report Iran broadcasts wrestler’s confession following Trump tweet MORE on Monday took aim at his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump campaign works to set narrative ahead of pivotal debates with Biden Massachusetts proves Puerto Ricans are the secret key to Dem victory in November Trump says officials will investigate whether California is using 1619 Project in classrooms MORE, and Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisTrump says officials will investigate whether California is using 1619 Project in classrooms Sunday shows – Stimulus, election preparations dominate Harris hits Trump, Barr for denying systemic racism in justice system: They ‘spend time in a different reality’ MORE (D-Calif.), over remarks by Harris that she would not take Trump’s word on the efficacy of a coronavirus vaccine without assurances from top health officials.
During a press conference Monday at the White House, the president pledged that a vaccine for the coronavirus would be available in “record time,” and swiped at Harris in particular over the remarks, calling her “the most liberal person in Congress.”
Biden and Harris, Trump said, “should immediately apologize for the reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric that they are talking right now, talking about endangering lives. It undermines science, and what happens is all of the sudden you’ll have this incredible vaccine and because of that fake rhetoric, it’s a political rhetoric … that’s all that is.”
#BREAKING: President Trump accuses Biden-Harris of “anti-vaccine rhetoric”: “It undermines science.” pic.twitter.com/kHym7jNBNy
— The Hill (@thehill) September 7, 2020
The Biden campaign responded on Twitter, pointing to a MSNBC reporter who fact-checked the president’s comments and pointed out that Harris was not questioning the reliability of vaccines, but rather the president’s rhetoric.
✅ Fact Check: “The president there really twisting the words of Senator Kamala Harris, who said exactly what Joe Biden just said in the last few hours – which is that they would need to hear from the experts and the scientists on this & they wouldn’t just take Trump’s word.” pic.twitter.com/CjHkqXtgzz
— Andrew Bates (@AndrewBatesNC) September 7, 2020
The president’s remarks referred to comments made by the California senator a day earlier on CNN, where Harris said that she did not trust remarks made by the president about the coronavirus pandemic and would instead defer to top health experts on whether a vaccine potentially released in 2020 would be effective and safe.
“I will say that I would not trust Donald Trump, and it would have to be a credible source of information that talks about the efficacy and the reliability of whatever he’s talking about,” Harris said.
If the past is any indication, Harris added, those experts will “be muzzled, they’ll be suppressed, they will be sidelined because he’s looking at an election coming up in less than 60 days, and he’s grasping for whatever he can get to pretend that he’s been a leader on this issue when he’s not.”
Recent polls have found that a majority of Americans do not trust the president’s statements about the COVID-19 pandemic; just 40 percent of Americans said they believed Trump’s claims about the virus and the U.S. response in a recent CBS poll.
Updated at 3:55 p.m.