President Biden said that Trump’s pandemic response was even worse than he had expected.
He said that since taking office he found there was much less vaccine available than claimed.
Biden made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with CBS News.
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President Joe Biden said that since taking office, he found that the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis was even worse than he had believed it would be.
In a wide-ranging interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell, Biden spoke on the occasion of the Super Bowl, which was attended by around 25,000 socially-distanced fans as a precaution in the pandemic.
Asked by O’Donnell if next year’s Super Bowl would have a full stadium, Biden said he hoped so, but also talked about the “lost time” in fighting the pandemic so far.
“It’s my hope and expectation if we’re able to put together and make up for all the lost time in fighting COVID that’s occurred,” he said.
Biden raised his dismay at the Trump administration after O’Donnell said her research team had estimated that it would take a year for enough people to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
CBS News based that estimate on comments made by infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci, who has served on both administrations’ pandemic response teams.
Biden said that he had been handed a “dire” situation by the former administration.
“One of the disappointments was when we came into office is the circumstance relating to how the [former] administration was handling COVID was even more dire than we thought,” Biden said.
“We thought that it had indicated there was a lot more vaccine available and it didn’t turn out to be the case. So that’s why we’ve ramped up every way we can.”
He said he planned to use NFL stadiums for mass vaccinations to speed the process, but said that the availability of vaccines was holding things back.
“It was one thing if we had enough vaccine, which we didn’t, so we’re pushing as hard as we can to get more vaccines manufactured,” he said.
The Biden administration also wants to launch a major pro-vaccination advertising blitz, but the project is on ice due to the low availability of doses, according to Politico.
The president said that he had already approached producers like Pfizer and Moderna to ask them to ramp up production, but said nonetheless achieving herd immunity before the end of summer would be “very difficult.”
Biden did not hold back in his criticism of his predecessor during the interview, also saying that Trump should not be receving intelligence briefings – as it customary for former presidents – because of “his erratic behavior unrelated to the insurrection.”
The Office of the Former President did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
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