Biden, Trump clash over coronavirus vaccine

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he’d follow the advice of scientists about whether he’d get a coronavirus vaccine if one became available before November’s presidential election, as President Trump tore into the Democratic ticket over vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris’s recent comments on the issue.

“I would want to see what the scientists said,” the former vice president told reporters Monday of a vaccine after speaking with supporters during a stop in Lancaster, Pa.


Biden also emphasized he’d welcome an effective vaccine regardless of the consequences to his campaign.

“If I could get a vaccine tomorrow I’d do it,” he stressed. “If it cost me the election I’d do it. We need a vaccine and we need it now.”

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event with local union members in the backyard of a home in Lancaster, Pa., Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during an event with local union members in the backyard of a home in Lancaster, Pa., Monday, Sept. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Biden – who’s heavily criticized Trump’s steering of the federal government’s response to the pandemic — also called for “full transparency on the vaccine.” And he once again argued that the president’s repeated misstatements and falsehoods regarding when a vaccine will become available are “undermining public confidence.”

Biden charged that when it comes to a vaccine, Trump’s “playing with politics. He said so many things that aren’t true.” And he cautioned that “if we do have a really good vaccine people are going to be reluctant to take it.”


Harris has taken heat after answering a question during a CNN interview that aired on Sunday about a possible vaccine by saying “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. I will not take his word for it.”

The president fired back Monday during a news conference.

Trump emphasized that Biden and Harris “should immediately apologize for the reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric that they’re talking right now, talking about endangering lives and it undermines science.”

And the president claimed that a vaccine could become available “during the month of October,” ahead of the presidential election.“You could have a very big surprise coming up.”

“The vaccine will be very safe and effective,” he speculated. “The people will be happy, the people of the world will be happy.”

Nearly 190,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 since the coronavirus swept the nation in February and March, with nearly 6.3 million total cases across the country.

Also on Labor Day, Biden showcased his support for organized labor.

“You’re going to have the best friend labor has ever had in the White House,” Biden told a small group of union members gathered in Lancaster.

The former vice president, who’s long been a strong supporter of organized labor, later headed to Harrisburg – Pennsylvania’s capital city. Biden stopped at the state AFL-CIO headquarters to join a virtual event with union President Richard Trumka, and take questions from rank and file members.

Besides being a crucial  general election battleground state, Pennsylvania’s also Biden’s native state. He was born and spent his first decade in Scranton, a working class city in the northeastern part of the state. And it’s no surprise that Biden – who spotlights his working-class roots and middle-class values – has won the lion’s share of union endorsements in the general election race.

Biden took to Twitter to praise organized labor, noting that “The 40-hour workweek Minimum wage Overtime pay Health care Workplace safety protections They’re all because of unions — and it’s time we recognize that.”

And in a video released ahead of his trip, Biden spotlighted one of the core themes of his campaign, that “Wall Street didn’t build this country, unions built it, unions built the middle class.”

And he emphasized that if elected, he’d push for the “the dignity of workers at the center of this economy, raising wages and safeguarding pensions, empowering unions, and investing in a true made in America future that spurs of new well, paying jobs.”

The economy and creating jobs was the president’s wheelhouse – but that was before the coronavirus pandemic swept the nation and flattened the nation’s economy.

Biden has repeatedly slammed the president’s performance on trying to re-inflate the economy.

On Monday, he told AFL-CIO members that Trump’s economy has “been great for his rich friends,” but emphasized that it hasn’t “been great for the rest of us.”

And he pledged if elected that “we’re going to make sure we pay people what they’re worth. It’s not enough to praise essential workers, it’s about time we start paying you….

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