Former President Donald Trump hailed his administration's COVID-19 vaccine efforts – buying billions of vaccines before they were even tested for efficacy and safety – as the "greatest bet in history."
"Most people understand we were the ones that did it," Trump told Rita Cosby on 77 WABC AM-N.Y. in a wide-ranging interview Thursday night, noting President Joe Biden's administration is gratuitously taking credit for the work of others.
Trump's Operation Warp Speed pushed the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to get the vaccines researched, developed, tested, approved, and distributed in nine months – and that work was not without risk.
"I did something which was maybe the greatest bet ever made in history, in a sense, because I bought billions and billions of dollars of the vaccine, before it was approved, before they knew for sure that it was going to work," Trump told Cosby. "We had an idea, but we didn't know for sure, and I bought billions. You wouldn't have had your vaccines until October of this year, so nobody would have been vaccinated. I bought it before it was approved. And that was a big bet.
"But you know, we saved 10s of millions of lives. And had I not done that, that was a risky move, in a sense, because who knew maybe it wouldn't have worked."
Trump urged all Americans to get the vaccine to help the country move toward herd immunity, including children.
"I guess they call it the Trump vaccine, and so I certainly, certainly would; I'd like to urge everybody to get it," he said. "It's been safe. And it's been totally effective, just about, and it's something that I think people should do. But I also believe if they don't want to do it, you can't force them to do it.
"But we've developed really a tremendous vaccine in a short period of time, we bought it, it's ready, and now it's very available. So I would certainly urge them to get it. Yes."
Trump lamented the Dr. Anthony Fauci timetable of vaccine production that had predicated a 5-year plan.
"It would have taken five years probably wouldn't have come up with it at all," Trump said. "I push the FDA very hard. I wouldn't say they exactly like me too much. But that's O.K.
"But we push them harder than they've ever been pushed, and they approved it. And they came up with it. And the companies came up with it. And frankly, you know, I can only be very happy about it."
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