But experts inside and outside the government still say they fear the White House will push the Food and Drug Administration to overlook insufficient data and give at least limited emergency approval to a vaccine, perhaps for use by specific groups like front-line health care workers, before the vote on Nov. 3.
“There are a lot of people on the inside of this process who are very nervous about whether the administration is going to reach their hand into the Warp Speed bucket, pull out one or two or three vaccines, and say, ‘We’ve tested it on a few thousand people, it looks safe, and now we are going to roll it out,’” said Dr. Paul A. Offit of the University of Pennsylvania, who is a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee.
“They are really worried about that,” he added. “And they should be.”
Mr. Trump relentlessly touts progress toward a vaccine, raising hopes of quick approval. Touring a North Carolina biotechnology lab last week, he vowed to “deliver a vaccine in record time.” In a tweet last month, he explicitly tied vaccines to his re-election hopes.
And it’s not just this, of course. If Trump’s polling remains in the tank — and there’s no reason to think it won’t — it’s pretty scary to think of what he’s capable of as he gets more desperate. Fortunately, there’s only 50 years between now and Election Day.