Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany | 12/15/2020 | Beaufort County Now | Yesterday, the United States witnessed a medical miracle: The first doses of a COVID vaccine were administered to frontline workers across the country. | President Donald J. Trump, dnlds wht hs

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Press Briefing by Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany | 12/15/2020

Press Release:

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room  •  Washington D.C.  •  December 15, 2020  •  1:11 P.M. EDT

Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany expresses herself: Above.     Photo was supplied by the White House staff.    Click image to expand.

    MS. MCENANY: Hello, everyone. Good afternoon. Yesterday, the United States witnessed a medical miracle: The first doses of a COVID vaccine were administered to frontline workers across the country. The President promised a safe and effective vaccine in record time, and President Trump delivered.

    Earlier this year, we heard from several news outlets and so-called fact checks that President Trump would need, quote, "a 'miracle' to be right." That was an NBC News article. We were told, according to Healthline, quote, a vaccine will "still take more than a year to develop." USA Today warned us that, quote, "despite medical researchers' progress," a vaccine, quote, was "more than a year away." And National Geographic even told us that achieving a vaccine within, quote, "a year to 18 months would be absolutely unprecedented," end quote. These reports deserve their own fact check: false.

    President Trump has not only been the optimist, hopeful to achieve a vaccine by year's end, he has also been a leader. Through Operation Warp Speed, President Trump, the businessman and the President, as the innovator, has succeeded. President Trump directed military logistics experts at the Department of Defense to partner with health experts at Health and Human Services to ensure prompt delivery of vaccines and equipment. This includes the appointment of four-star General Perna, who oversees the global supply chain and readiness for the United States Army as Operation Warp Speed's chief operating officer.

    The Trump administration supported clinical trials by working to enroll participants through NIH-funded COVID protection networks and provided funding and technical support through the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

    President Trump also directed industrial-scale manufacturing of vaccines to take place at its own risk before knowing whether these vaccines would be successful. It was a novel approach, indeed, to vaccine development, and led by President Trump.

    The results of these historic investments will benefit the American people and will mark the beginning of the end of the pandemic. As the first doses of the vaccine are delivered and administered, we urge all Americans to continue to wash your hands, socially distance, wear a mask when you are unable to do so.

    We also encourage those at the state level to improve the early and aggressive use of monoclonal antibody treatments, especially among vulnerable Americans.

    The Trump administration led the way, approving monoclonal antibody treatments for outpatient use, issuing two emergency use authorizations in November. Additionally, through HHS's Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, monoclonal antibody patient courses have been allocated to all 50 states. Together, these steps can play a significant role, changing the course of this virus. Thank you to President Trump.

    And, with that, I will take questions.


    Q Kayleigh, now that the Electoral College has voted, does the President acknowledge that Joe Biden is the President-Elect? Does he have any plans to invite him here to the White House?

    MS. MCENANY: The President is still involved in ongoing litigation related to the election. Yesterday's vote was one step in the constitutional process. So I will leave that to him and refer you to the campaign for more on that litigation.

    Q What was his reaction to Leader McConnell, today, congratulating Joe Biden and calling him the President-Elect?

    MS. MCENANY: I haven't gotten the President's reaction to that yet, but the President, again, is pursuing ongoing litigation. Would refer you to the campaign for further.

    Q And what is the path forward though for litigation? If the votes have been certified, if the Electoral College has voted, there doesn't seem to be a legal recourse at this point.

    MS. MCENANY: The campaign would have more specifics for you on legal recourse, but yesterday was one step in the constitutional process leading up to the January 20th date in the Constitution.



    Q Does the President plan to take the vaccine? And will he do it in a public way to inspire confidence among people?

    MS. MCENANY: So the President, currently at this moment, has said he is absolutely open to taking the vaccine. He's been emphatic about that to me privately and to you all publicly. But he did recently recover from COVID. He has the continued protective effects of the monoclonal antibody cocktail that I mentioned, and he will receive the vaccine as soon as his medical team determines it's best. But his priority is frontline workers, those in long-term care facilities, and he wants to make sure that the vulnerable get access first.


    Q Wouldn't him taking the vaccine set an example for Americans to give them confidence? Doctors - Dr. Fauci, as well as Moncef Slaoui, both said today that they think President Trump should get the vaccine. If - A, you know, because - for himself, but, B, to set an example. Will he do that? Like why not do it just to show Americans that it's safe?

    MS. MCENANY: Because he also wants to show Americans that our priority are the most - most vulnerable. There will be some senior administration officials taking it publicly to instill that confidence; it is very important.

    Q Can you say who?

    MS. MCENANY: And the President - no, but you'll learn in the next few days who that is - who those individuals will be. But they will be taking it publicly to instill confidence. The President wants to send a parallel message, which is, you know, our long-term care facility residents and our frontline workers are paramount in importance, and he wants to set an example in that regard.

    Q Would you personally take it?

    MS. MCENANY: I absolutely would be open to taking the vaccine. As has been reported and as I shared with some of you yesterday, the White House - it will be a very limited group of people who have access to it initially. The President's tweet indicated that the White House should receive it at a later date to, again, prioritize the most vulnerable. But some career staff - national security staff, for the purposes of continuity of government, will have access, in addition to a very small group of senior administration officials for the purpose of instilling public confidence.

    Q And he has said that he thinks Americans will be able to take it if they want to take it. You're saying he's open to taking it. Is he going to encourage Americans to take it, or is he going to leave it up to Americans? Does he think Americans should get this shot?

    MS. MCENANY: Absolutely. Look, these are vaccines that he oversaw the development of, he has great confidence in. He wants to see all Americans get this vaccine, and he wants to see the most vulnerable among us get it first. But, absolutely, he will be encouraging - encouraging Americans to take this.

    Yeah, David.

    Q Do you know when - specifically when the President will veto the National Defense Authorization Act? When are you going to send the paperwork over? And why would he veto that, given the fact that it passed on veto-proof majorities in Congress?

    MS. MCENANY: So, he still does plan to veto the NDAA. I don't have a timeline for you on that, but he does plan to veto it. He wants to make every effort to protect our military men and women, and we'll prioritize military funding in the big omnibus bill. But he also has other important priorities in - I should say "problems" with the NDAA, beyond just the absence of Section 230 repeal and beyond the inclusion of the Warren Amendment.


    One of the provisions of concern is troop - provisions about troop withdrawal and deployment in Afghanistan, South Korea, and Germany. And so there are a number of provisions that he has -

    Q He also said it was weak on China, but no Republican really seems to agree with him on that. Why does he think the bill is bad on China?

    MS. MCENANY: So, by not including a Section 230 repeal, what you're in effect allowing is Twitter to continue to not censor Chinese propaganda. Recently, there was a tweet by the U.S. - the Chinese Embassy in the United States about the Xinjiang province and allowing all citizens to enjoy the same rights, including freedom of religion. That clearly is not the case, as the Uyghurs have been absolutely tortured in that province.

    There was another tweet that they allowed about the virus originating in Wuhan. They said it was not - it did not originate in Wuhan. That obviously is Chinese disinformation, and the President's priority is to ensure that that isn't permitted.


    Q Did Leader McConnell give the President a heads up that he was going to talk about Biden on the floor today?

    MS. MCENANY: I'm not sure if he had any call with him prior to making that statement.

    Q Okay. And is Secretary Mnuchin or Chief Meadows going to be involved in this bipartisan meeting that's happening on the Hill today at 4:00 about COVID relief?

    MS. MCENANY: I believe it's just congressional leaders meeting, but I'll get back to you if there is a White House presence there. But what I can tell you is that the White House has had a continuous presence in the stimulus talks, leading on this from - for months, trying to get this phase four passed.


    And when I spoke with the Chief about this again this morning, he noted that Nancy Pelosi has really been standing in the way of a deal, going back prior to the election when she was anti stimulus checks - something the President has been vocal about wanting. And then, after the election, according to her, quote, she can now support these checks because of a, quote, "new President" was - were her words, which is appalling to think that politics was playing into the COVID relief for the American people.


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