In Senate Testimony, Trump’s Top Health Officials Contradict His Comments Last Night

In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee today, Trump’s top public health officials directly contradicted many of the comments he made in his town hall last night, including on the effectiveness of face masks and timeline of a vaccine.

Trump said a vaccine could be available in three or four weeks, but his CDC director said it likely wouldn’t be available to the public until mid-2021.

TRUMP: “If you want to know the truth, the previous administration would have taken perhaps years to have a vaccine because of the FDA and all the approvals, and we’re within weeks of getting it. You know, could be three weeks, four weeks, but we think we have it.”

REDFIELD: “If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at third … late second quarter, third quarter 2021.”

Trump downplayed the need to wear masks but his CDC director said that masks are the most important public health tool we have to combat COVID.

TRUMP: “Now there is by the way, a lot of people don’t want to wear masks. There are a lot of people think that masks are not good.”

REDFIELD: “These facemasks are the most important, powerful public health tool we have … I might even go so far as to say that this facemask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.”

Trump said that if we didn’t do testing we would have very few cases, which Admiral Giroir flatly contradicted.

TRUMP: “Well, we have 20 percent of the cases because of the fact that we do much more testing. If we wouldn’t do testing you wouldn’t have cases. You would have very few cases.”

QUESTION: “Would ending testing end the spread of the COVID-19 disease?” GIROIR: “No, sir.”

Trump said he has a health care replacement plan, but none of the three heads of agencies responsible for executing such a plan are aware of any.

TRUMP: “I have it all ready. I have it all ready.”

QUESTION: “As head of the agencies responsible for dealing with such a public health undertaking I would like to ask you ‘does a replacement plan exist that you are aware of?’ Any of you? Yes or no?” […] GIROIR: “I’m not involved in the replacement plan, I don’t know what that is.” […] KADLEC: “Sir, it’s not in my portfolio… I have no awareness of that.” […] REDFIELD: “It’s really not in my main lane, but I’m not aware of one.”