NIH Director praises Trump admin accomplishments on vaccine, undermining Fauci criticisms

The Biden administration has repeatedly disparaged the actions of the Trump administration with regard to the rapid development, testing, and distribution of multiple vaccines to help inoculate the public against the coronavirus pandemic.

While Dr. Anthony Fauci has at times joined in that criticism, his boss at the National Institutes of Health, Director Francis Collins, undermined that narrative and issued high praise for the Trump administration’s accomplishments, Breitbart reported.

Besides being President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Fauci is the long-serving head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, meaning he still falls under the leadership of Collins.

Mask-wearing has become “so politicized”

In clips released by Axios of an interview that will air on the outlet’s HBO program, Collins seemed to push back against the concerted criticism against the COVID-19-related achievements of former President Donald Trump’s administration.

When asked if he had been “frustrated” by Trump’s “long journey” toward wearing a mask in public, Collins replied, “Let’s just say 2020 was a pretty difficult year for this whole issue about mask-wearing. It became so politicized, so emotional, so based on everything except the facts.”

Collins was also asked what the Trump administration got right. Without hesitation, the director pointed to Operation Warp Speed, the Trump-backed effort coordinated by the federal government and private sector to rapidly develop, test, produce, and then distribute vaccines against the COVID-19 virus. It was an effort that has been seemingly dismissed and even denied by members of the current administration, including President Biden himself.

“Breathtaking” accomplishment

“The Operation Warp Speed, for which I give a great deal of credit to [former HHS Secretary Alex Azar], was an effort that many of us were not initially convinced was going to be necessary. And it was thought about as a Manhattan Project,” Collins said, referencing the massive World War II-era effort to develop nuclear weapons amid the global conflict.

“Those words were used sometimes to describe what needed to happen in order to get all parts of the government together in an unprecedented way to test up to six vaccines in rigorous trials — and to do this at-risk manufacturing — so that if any of those trials happen to work, you would already have doses ready to go into arms,” he continued.

“That would not be the way things are traditionally done,” Collins said. “That effort and the recruitment of Dr. Moncef Slaoui was an incredibly important step forward that the administration deserves credit for, because that did motivate a lot of actions, a lot of coordination.”

“The fact that we, in December, had not one but two vaccines that had gone through trials … is just breathtaking,” he added. “That that got done in 11 months, from when we first knew about this virus, is at least five years faster than it’s ever been done before.”

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