On Monday, both President Donald Trump and his son, Donald Trump Jr., erroneously accused Pfizer of waiting until after the 2020 presidential election to release the results of its coronavirus vaccine trial. There was no evidence to support these claims and plenty of evidence against them.
Pfizer announced a major stepping stone in its development of a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, saying that it could be seeking emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of the month. The company has developed its treatment with no funding from the U.S. government whatsoever, yet Trump tweeted that the company withheld its results so as to avoid giving him credit for the success. His son even called the data on the vaccine itself into question, saying that the study was "nefarious." Critics say all of these misleading claims are shaking public faith in science, public health workers and the American electoral system.
The @US_FDA and the Democrats didn’t want to have me get a Vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later – As I’ve said all along!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2020
"The [FDA] and the Democrats didn't want to have me get a vaccine WIN, prior to the election, so instead it came out five days later -- As I've said all along!" Trump tweeted without evidence on Monday night. His son added with an eye-rolling emoji: "The timing of this is pretty amazing. Nothing nefarious about the timing of this at all right?"
There was no evidence for these conspiracy theories from the Trump family, and in case there was any doubt, a Pfizer spokesperson told Business Insider that the election had nothing to do with the timing of its study results. The data came from an analysis that took place on Sunday and was then announced on Monday. The Pfizer spokesperson said that the results were released "when the science told us the data was available," and that the timing "did not have to do with the election."
The timing of this is pretty amazing. Nothing nefarious about the timing of this at all right? 🙄 https://t.co/nS5rkywKXT— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 9, 2020
Even as he touted conspiracy theories about the vaccine, Trump still tried to take what credit for it he could. He tweeted boasts about the stock market immediately following the announcement, and wrote that this was "SUCH GREAT NEWS!" In many tweets, Trump still writes as if he is campaigning for re-election since he has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden so far.
While Pfizer's vaccine development was not a part of the Trump administration's "Operation Warp Speed," the government did place a large advance order for the drug over the summer. However, critics still argue that Trump's mitigation efforts had little to do with this historic break in the coronavirus pandemic.