By Jefferey Jaxen
“I just want to make something clear, it’s very important. Vaccine or no vaccine, we’re back.”
Those words were spoken by President Donald Trump from a recent White House Rose Garden press conference. With reporters spread out across the lawn, exactly six feet apart, Trump took the podium as his coronavirus task force filled in behind him. Some with masks, some without.
Rumored to be coming to an end only last week, the task force will now continue “indefinitely,” according to the President. It has been expanded by five new members: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Labor Secretary Gene Scalia, National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins (Tony Fauci’s supervisor,) Food and Drug Administration Director of the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, Dr. Peter Marks and Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, Thomas Engels.
During his initial campaign, Trump’s statements questioning vaccine safety kept both the medical industry and media off balance. Shortly before his inauguration, a one-off meeting with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. where he reportedly asked Kennedy to chair an independent vaccine safety advisory panel fizzled.
Since that brush with the topic, the President has uncharacteristically guarded his language from using the word ‘vaccine’ in public. Since Trump reached the White House, budget constraints and one-off Trump Tweets were the only real threats to America’s long-embedded vaccine paradigm.
But in early March, as coronavirus fears ramped up, Trump held a roundtable with his task force and the heads of several pharmaceutical companies. There, vaccine development and testing was discussed. Then, at the recent rose garden presser, Trump leaned in to the vaccine topic—hard.
After a week of unnamed sources leaking details, Trump publicly confirmed a vaccine, diagnostic and therapeutic initiative called “Operation Warp Speed.” Drawing parallels to World War II’s “Manhattan Project,” Trump said: “Its objective is to develop and distribute a proven coronavirus vaccine as fast as possible.”
He would like to see one “by the end of the year,” he added.
Bringing together the “best in American industry…the full resources of the United States government…and the United States military,” Trump named Moncef Slaou, the ex-head of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) vaccines division, to lead the effort. He would be joined by four-star Army General Gustave Perna. The GSK vet, Slaou, now serves on the board of Moderna. Moderna’s mRNA vaccine candidate is finishing phase 1 human testing.
Trump further claimed during the presser that other countries are “viewing us as the leader.” Operation Warp Speed is an alphabet soup who’s who of agencies in one big brimming bowl of bureaucracy: CDC, NIH, FDA, HHS and DOD.
What is going on with Trump’s sudden about-face infatuation with a coronavirus vaccine? Here are a few possible scenarios.
After Trump initially questioned vaccine-autism links and safety issues in 2015, he’s been surrounded, muzzled and sidetracked away from such inquiry. He now prefers to listen to his trusted health agency heads and Big Pharma industry leaders. A businessman at heart, without medical training, his battle with Big Pharma isn’t waged against the safety issues of their products but with the quality and prices of those products.
One example: It was known for at least four years that vaccine vials shed flakes of glass called lamellae, posing unknown health risks to recipients. Internal government documents released to the public in 2016 showed the FDA didn’t act. It knowingly continued to allow doctors and nurses throughout the country to inject babies with the potentially problematic shots.
In 2017, Trump announced a $500 million investment with Corning Inc., who, in partnership with pharmaceutical giants Merck and Pfizer, would manufacture a new kind of glass for ‘injectable’ drug vials.
Trump was ‘trumped’ by Bill Gates and his massive foundation from the get-go in the coronavirus vaccine race. Gates and his wife have been busy making sure that both America and the world understand that life won’t go back to ‘normal’ until a vaccine is developed – a talking point parroted by governors and Fauci himself – though subscribed to by Trump.
The former software engineer has gone from background philanthropist to daily media mogul. He’s appeared on countless TV and streaming interviews, and at events. It’s been a ubiquitous ongoing public relations campaign to promote a coronavirus vaccine. Gates’ organization is helping fund factories for the top seven vaccine candidates, seemingly giving him power over manufacturing capacity of the “two of them” he chooses.
We are witnessing both a global health war and modern day medical arms race, with Gates and Trump at odds.
To neutralize Gates, Trump’s counterpunching effort would need something bigger than Gates’ superior but myopic monetary might. While it is idealistic and romantic to conjure historical memories of American greatness during WWII, if a modern-day Manhattan Project to ignite the full force of all U.S. government health agencies is coming, it needs to be activated fast.
Such a grandiose image would take back the media narrative, while conscripting American industry and health agency heads, some of whom have ties to Gates through funding. Cramming the entire effort under the watchful eye of “military logistics” would ensure maximum adherence and control of the operation.
Finally, we must consider a darker possibility. A more sobering view, without the political angling or business jockeying.
Perhaps Trump’s presidency never had a chance up against a virus of fear that transformed the world into a perpetually panicked new age. An age in which individual liberties and Constitutional rights took a nationally uncharacteristic knee to the greater good of society. A medical 9/11 which ushered in invasive, technologically-driven contact tracking to our daily lives. One in which regular population lockdowns were normalized as successive waves, real or imagined, of viruses drove society’s trajectory. One in which the immune system was relegated to a simple switch that only a vaccine could activate.
As a side note and important data point, both Gates and Fauci have been out front in prepping the public consciousness to accept safety issues and perhaps even eventual casualties from the shot.
Perhaps learning from his mistakes during 2009 in which he lied to the public about the swine flu vaccine’s safety profile, Fauci testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions:
“There’s no guarantee that the [COVID-19] vaccine is actually going to be effective.” He continued “I must warn that there’s also the possibility of negative consequences where certain vaccines can actually enhance the negative effect of the infection,”
Meanwhile, Gates went right in asking for legal cover during an interview:
“[Before] we go and give this vaccine to the entire world…governments will have to be involved because there will be some risk and indemnification need before that can be decided on.”
No matter what option plays out, the American public is locked into a rapid and real time trajectory unlike anything history has ever witnessed.