Several journalists and news organizations took President Trump's remarks out of context Friday, implying that the president would refuse outright to distribute an anticipated coronavirus vaccine to New York state.
At a White House event, the Trump administration revealed that as many as 20 million Americans who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 could be vaccinated as soon as December, with the vaccine potentially available to the entire population as soon as April.
However, that announcement was partially overshadowed by Trump singling out New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for previously casting doubt about a vaccine distributed by the GOP administration and suggesting that he would stop such a vaccine from being distributed in the state without approval from his own medical experts.
"The vaccine will be available to the entire general population with the exception of places like New York state where, for political reasons, the governor decided to say – and I don't think that it's good politically, I think it's bad from a health standpoint –but he wants to take his time with the vaccine," Trump said. "He doesn't trust where the vaccine is coming from. These are coming from the greatest companies anywhere in the world … but he doesn't trust the fact that it's this White House, this administration.
So we won't be delivering it to New York until we have authorization to do so," Trump said. "And that pains me to say that … So the governor, Governor Cuomo, will have to let us know when he's ready for it."
"The Trump administration is rolling out the vaccination plan and I believe it's flawed," Cuomo told ABC News' "Good Morning America" Monday. "You have two months, and we can’t let this vaccination plan go forward the way the Trump administration is designing it because Biden can’t undo it two months later, we’ll be in the midst of it. And I'm going — I've been talking to governors across the nation about that; how can we shape the Trump administration vaccine plan to fix it, or stop it before it does damage."
However, none of that crucial context made it to various journalists.
CNBC put out a misleading tweet reading, "Trump says coronavirus vaccine won't be delivered to New York."
The article headline was not much of an improvement: "Trump says coronavirus vaccine won’t be delivered to New York right away."
New York Times reporter Michael Grymbaum similarly left out context, tweeting, "Trump suggesting he will hold back vaccines from New Yorkers because of Governor Cuomo.
Washington Post editor Cathleen Decker alluded to Cuomo's remarks without detailing what he said, but declared that President Trump was "going out with animosity to the blue states."
Decker's colleague, Washington Post editor Karen Attiah, tweeted "Lol so Trump is just gonna say he won't give vaccines to the state of New York."
Talking Points Memo founder Josh Marshall twisted the dynamic between President Trump and Gov. Cuomo, writing "Sullen Trump lashes out at New York, says whole country will get vaccine except New York, until Governor asks nicely."
A local CBS affiliate in New York completely distorted President Trump's remarks in its headline, "President Trump Says New York State Will Not Receive COVID Vaccine As Soon As It’s Available ‘For Political Reasons,'" conflating the president's explanation with his jab at Cuomo, who Trump said would prevent the distribution of a vaccine "for political reasons."