During a discussion of the Coronavirus at a White House press conference this Tuesday, President Donald Trump pointed to a supposed AIDS vaccine as evidence that the U.S. would soon find a way to effectively fend off the Coronavirus. There’s one problem — an AIDS vaccine does not exist. In short, amidst a public health crisis that has claimed the lives of what’s approaching 120,000 Americans, the president of the United States sounds like he has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. Figures like reporter Jim Acosta noted the problem.
Gaffe alert. At policing event, Trump said there is an AIDS vaccine. There is not an AIDS vaccine. https://t.co/nyvb1jldZP
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 16, 2020
After predicting that next year will “be one of the best economic years this country has ever had,” Trump added:
‘Before the end of the year I predict we will have a very successful vaccine, therapeutic, and cure. We’re making tremendous progress. I deal with these incredible scientists, doctors very very closely. I have great respect for their minds, and they have come up with things, and they’ve come up with many other cures and therapeutics over the years. These are the people — the best, the smartest, the most brilliant anywhere. They’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine. They’ve come up with, or the AIDS, and as you know, there’s various things, and now, various companies are involved, but the therapeutic for AIDS. AIDS was a death sentence, and now people live a life with a pill.’
President Trump: "They've come up with the AIDS vaccine." pic.twitter.com/JF6zCdmPYC
— The Hill (@thehill) June 16, 2020
Again — there is no AIDS vaccine. Trump’s rush to mention an AIDS “therapeutic” suggests that he may have been at least vaguely aware that his previous reference to an AIDS vaccine was nonsense, but he, as the president of the United States, apparently did not care enough to try and get that basic claim in order before spouting it off to the world.
Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, Trump has ignored and dismissed public health demands. He’s claimed, for instance, that the virus could go away on its own, a claim that is supported by pretty much no evidence anywhere. Earlier in the pandemic, he claimed that the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. would soon wind down to zero, a claim that he had no evidence for.