Donald Trump has urged the American public not to give president-elect Joe Biden credit for the development of Covid-19 vaccines, saying “the vaccines were me” in his first press conference since the election.
Speaking to reporters after a phone call with US troops on Thanksgiving, Mr Trump said of Mr Biden: “Don’t let him take credit for the vaccines because the vaccines were me and I pushed people harder than they’ve ever been pushed before.
“We are rounding the curve. The vaccines are being delivered. It will start next week and the week after. It will hit the frontline workers, seniors, doctors and nurses. We are going very quickly,” said Mr Trump.
It isn’t the first time the president has claimed the country is “rounding the curve”, and it remains inconsistent with the US’s official Covid statistics. According to the WHO, the US has reported more than 150,000 new cases every day bar one since 14 November.
Speaking of vaccines, Mr Trump said two companies have “already announced” and "third, fourth and fifth ones are coming up soon”. It was in reference to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, which have released studies showing the effectiveness of their vaccines and are in the process of applying for regulatory approval.
Mr Trump said in normal times it could have taken “4 to 5 years to do so”, referring to the regulatory process required for clearing a vaccine. “We pushed it very hard.”
The incumbent president still has not conceded the 2020 election, despite all major news networks projecting the result in Mr Biden’s favour over three weeks ago.
Mr Trump told reporters the “race is far from over” while once again claiming, without evidence, that the elections were “rigged.”
He said if the “media were honest and big tech was fair, this wouldn't even have been a contest” while adding that he would have “won by a tremendous amount.”
“And I did win by a tremendous amount, but it hasn't been reported yet. But people understand what's happened. They know what happened,” he said.
The US president also announced that he would campaign in Georgia for two Republican Senate candidates – a crucial contest as its outcome will determine whether Republicans maintain their majority in the upper house of Congress.
Mr Trump lost to Mr Biden in Georgia in a close contest, giving the state to the Democrats for the first time in 28 years.
Several top Republicans have called on Mr Trump to concede, the latest being former house speaker Paul Ryan, to allow a smooth transition. Mr Trump recently allowed the federal US agency responsible for the presidential transition process to do “what needs to be done” and begin the transition process, after an almost unprecedented delay.
On Thursday, Donald Trump said for the first time that he would “certainly” leave the White House in a peaceful transition if the electoral college verifies the Biden victory next month. He nonetheless refused to reveal whether he would attend Mr Biden’s inauguration, only saying that he had made up his mind one way or the other.