By Victor Reklaitis, MarketWatch
President Donald Trump on Friday continued to refuse to concede the White House race to Joe Biden, nearly a week after news outlets called the contest for the Democratic challenger.
“Whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be — I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown,” Trump said at the White House’s Rose Garden, as he spoke about the “Operation Warp Speed” public-private partnership that aims to accelerate development of a COVID-19 vaccine. He didn’t respond to reporters’ shouted questions about conceding the election.
The president also threatened to keep New York state from getting a vaccine when one is approved, as he attacked Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has criticized Trump’s plan for rolling out a vaccine.
“He’s had some very bad editorials recently about this,” Trump said of Cuomo. The president said his administration “won’t be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so.”
Cuomo hit back at Trump, saying in an MSNBC interview that most Americans are worried about Trump interfering in the vaccine-approval process, so his state has set up a separate review panel.
“A number of states, New York included, to try to build credibility, so the people will actually accept the vaccine, put together their own scientific review panels,” Cuomo told MSNBC.
Trump’s remarks came after the stock market /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX -0.53% /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.36% gained this week as BioNTech SE and Pfizer Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202877789/composite PFE +0.93% reported success for their experimental coronavirus vaccine in a late-stage clinical trial. His address also follows the U.S. shattering records for daily cases of COVID-19.
Trump criticized Pfizer for distancing itself from Operation Warp Speed, saying it was “an unfortunate mistake” for the company to say it wasn’t part of the program. But Pfizer has not received government funding for vaccine research and development, though it its slated to get $1.95 billion from the federal government for doses of a vaccine.
Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera tweeted Friday that he had spoken with the president in the morning, and Trump had told him that he was a “realist” who would “do the right thing” when all legitimate votes have been counted. Trump on Thursday night tweeted that Biden did not win, and Twitter Inc. /zigman2/quotes/203180645/composite TWTR -3.11% then flagged that post, saying “Official sources called this election differently.”
Biden on Friday urged the Republican incumbent’s administration to deliver a more robust response to the coronavirus crisis.
“I am the president-elect, but I will not be president until next year. The crisis does not respect dates on the calendar, it is accelerating right now. Urgent action is needed today, now, by the current administration, starting with an acknowledgment of how serious the current situation is,” the Democratic president-elect said in a statement ahead of Trump’s remarks.