In an interview that aired on Friday, former President Barack Obama warned that his successor, Donald Trump, could benefit electorally from the progress being made in developing a coronavirus vaccine, The Hill reported.
Speaking with his former campaign manager David Plouffe, Obama suggested that positive news about combating COVID-19 could help Trump win reelection.
The former commander-in-chief said that there is “no possibility of a vaccine for COVID-19 being developed and distributed between now and the election.” He added, however, that there is a chance some of the ongoing trials might “result in us knowing before the election that a vaccine is on the way.”
“That might relieve people’s anxieties, and that’s good, we should hope for that,” he noted.
“But that also can change the dynamic, particularly when you have a president who takes responsibility for nothing but takes credit for everything, and you don’t know how the economy might react to that.”
As The Hill pointed out, dozens of pharmaceutical companies around the world are working on vaccines. Although some of them are in the final phases of trials, experts claim that an effective one may be available in 2021 at the earliest.
As reported by CNN, in order to speed up the process, the Trump administration launched Operation Warp Speed. The goal of the operation is to have 300 million doses of medication by January 2021.
In the United States, pharmaceutical giants Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax have already completed their Phase 1 trials.
Even though the world is not expected to contain COVID-19 anytime soon, Phase 3 trials could be showing initial results by November 3.
In November, Trump will face off against Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee.
Obama warned that “there are a whole bunch of circumstances” Biden will not be able to control, but noted that Democrats need to do all they can to ensure Americans can vote, whether in person or via mail-in voting.
Democrats have criticized Trump’s handling of the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement released last week, Biden accused the commander-in-chief of waving “the white flag” as the nation struggles to grapple with the devastating crisis.
The coronavirus crisis is all but guaranteed to be a defining issue of the upcoming election.
Polling suggests that most Americans disapprove of Trump’s performance in the White House. In a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, for instance, only 34 percent of respondents said that they approve of the way the president has dealt with the pandemic.