President Trump touts vaccine development at the Operation Warp Speed Summit.
Pool gathered for the vaccine summit and was escorted over to EEOB at 1:48 p.m. The summit is in the South Court Auditorium.
South Court auditorium was about half full when the pool arrived, with everyone wearing masks but lots of folks sitting next to each other or talking in close circles. Some of the chairs have name cards on them. Pool passed HHS Secretary Azar in the foyer and looks like several public health officials are here like Brett Giroir.
Inside the small auditorium where the White House is holding its Operation Warp Speed vaccine summit. It appears that most people have masks on. About 100 people or more are in this room. pic.twitter.com/3YTumlThBN
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) December 8, 2020
On stage is a podium, a small signing desk, and a dark blue backdrop of the American flag and Operation Warp Speed icons.
At the 2:00 p.m. mark, many attendees were still standing and talking, then were directed to take their seats.
At 2:04 p.m. VP Pence walked into the auditorium to applause, then the video started.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2020
President Trump took the stage at 2:06 p.m. and started his remarks at the podium, thanking members of the audience and from his administration.
Trump said if authorized, tens of millions of doses of vaccine would be available this month. Decisions about who would get the vaccine first will be up to governors. Trump urged seniors and first responders, health care workers should be first.
Trump said the executive order he was about to sign would prioritize the vaccine for Americans before it is shipped abroad.
Trump was reading his speech and appeared to keep close to the script—he stayed on the topic of the pandemic and the vaccine.
At 2:22 p.m. Trump sat at the small desk and signed the order, then handed the first pen to Pence and Azar who were standing behind him.
At 2:23 p.m. Trump went back to the podium and asked for questions. The first question asked at the vaccine summit was by Jeff Mason. He asked about his message to Americans now, over the holidays. Trump touted the U.S.’s testing program and new tests coming.
AP reporter Zeke Miller asked about White House Christmas parties, and Trump said attendees wear masks.
Trump also said we’d have to see what the next administration is, and hopefully, it would be the Trump administration. Trump said he hoped either legislators or judges would find election fraud. The reporter who asked the last question at the vaccine event was NBC’s, Peter Alexander.
Asked why the White House did not invite anyone from the incoming Biden administration to today’s vaccine summit, the President once again denied the outcome of the election:
“Hopefully the next administration will be the Trump administration.”
— Weijia Jiang (@weijia) December 8, 2020
The event ended at 2:28 p.m. and Trump waved and walked off stage.