WATCH: NBC News’ Peter Alexander Literally Wrote a Statement for Biden to Credit Trump on Vaccines, Read it Aloud at Briefing
NBC News White House correspondent Peter Alexander took the initiative to compose a statement that President Joe Biden could use in order to give former President Donald Trump some credit for the success of the vaccination program that’s currently underway.
At Friday’s White House daily briefing, Alexander asked Press Secretary Jen Psaki about that aspect of the speech, and went a step further by reading his own version of what Biden could have said to credit Trump.
Alexander said that Biden “spent a lot of time touting the success of vaccines, yet there was no mention of the president under whose administration these vaccines were developed,” and asked, “Does former President Trump not deserve any credit on vaccines?”
Psaki noted that the President and his team have praised the development of vaccines as “a Herculean incredible effort by science and by medical experts. And certainly, we have applauded that in the past, and we are happy to applaud that again.”
“But, I would say there is a clear difference, clear steps that have been taken since the president took office, that have put us on a trajectory that we were not on when he was inaugurated,” she added. “And leadership starts at the top, it includes mask-wearing, it includes acknowledging it is a pandemic, it includes getting a vaccine in public.”
Psaki went on to say that most of the infrastructure to vaccinate people was not in place when Biden took office.
Alexander conceded some of Psaki’s points, and said: “But on the development of the vaccines, it was Operation Warp Speed that was invented, executed, initiated under the former president.”
“So in the spirit of bipartisanship and unity last night, as opposed to the first comments which were about the denials in the first days weeks or months, why not just say, ‘With credit to the previous administration and the former president for putting us in this position, we are glad that we have been able to move it forward?'” Alexander asked.
“That is an excellent recommendation as a speechwriter,” Psaki said with a smile, then restated much of her previous answer, and told Alexander the purpose of the speech, as she saw it.
“And, in fairness, as he said, to bring all Americans together, which is why I asked,” Alexander chimed in.
“Of course it is, but I would say that Americans are looking for facts, details, they’re looking for specifics, and I don’t think they’re worried too much about applause from six months ago when the president has already delivered that publicly,” Psaki said.
Former Trump and current Biden Covid task force expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that while the prior administration helped to develop and ship vaccines, “the actual plan of getting the vaccine doses into people’s arms was really rather vague.”
He said of the Trump administration’s effort “You can’t say it was absolutely not usable at all.”
Watch the clip above via C-Span.
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