U.S. Offered ‘Large Sum’ to German Company for Access to Coronavirus Vaccine Research, German Officials Say

Mar 15, 2020 · 350 comments
Charlie (Orinda, CA)
Chicken dinner for the reporter who breaks story on where Menichella lands. You know he has key IP. All he has to do is tuck in behind Trump/Barr legal fire wall and it is off to the race to find/steal a cure
second Derivative (MI)
The 'America first' foreign policy that drives such nationalistic act is a deeply flawed one. This abrogation of leadership of the free world and breeding distrust with long standing allies, hopefully shall remain an anomalous one time Presidency facet and serve to inoculate our policy framework from any such policy deviations in the future. It is not just strategically misguided, thereby exposing us along with our allies to vulnerabilities that internal divisions inevitably bring forth, it is also antithetical to both the spirit of science and the coda that all folks of medicine are idealistically expected to live by. The drive to further commercial interests and corporate profits dampens these idealistic fervor but winners in the competitive arena who are able to balance conflicting needs and keep those creative juices alive. The intervention of this kind is almost certain to vitiate the scientific spirit and scuttle any idealism in the team undertaking this venture. Wish team Trump gets management policy experts in their fold.
Doremus Jessup (Moving On)
Please tell me that the Germans told Trump, or the flunky that called, to go away.
Jason W (New York)
According to CureVac's direct statement on Twitter, the allegations here never occurred. Much ado about nothing, but then that's par for the course here at the NYT where it's "I hate Trump" every day of the week in the newsroom.
Philipp (Germany)
@Jason W The allegations have been indirectly confirmed by Curevac's main investor Dietmar Hopp and some german government officials. And Curevac's CEO was sacked. Just have a look at the press release and read between the lines. Very interesting.
Jason W (New York)
@Philipp I guess some people will see what they choose to see. That doesn't confirm anything. An American citizen was sacked as CEO and replaced by a German. That's all it is. Your own Berlin officials who made the allegations aren't going on the record and some others have contradicted the allegations as well stating clearly that Berlin is unsure what the offer was precisely. It seems Berlin has been raising alarm in response to rumor and innuendo. If it happened here, you'd be screaming xenophobia.
Michelle (Baltimore)
@Jason W You give the word "mindless" new definition. This is the 3rd verified report of the same activity the grifter in chief has exhibited since he took office. He has no concern for "the American people" This is another attempt to line his pockets at taxpayer expense. He doesn't have a billion dollars. After all, he's no Mike Bloomberg. Why don't you find a restaurant to eat at? With hundreds of folks who think like you.
enoughisenough (münchen)
This so truly disgusts me. Like everyone, I watch the statistics every day. Numbers going up and up. But the death rate here in Germany is still relatively low. I'm proud of that, thinking that it reflects the sensibility and competence of the German culture. Then, I read this. Again, German ingenuity shining through. But will it avail Germans, or anyone else other than a select group of Americans who can afford the price that the pharmaceutical industry always exacts? Operation paper clip turned on its head. Who is the menace now?
LHS (Denver, Co)
He refused help from the WHO when they offered free help with testing, but willing to pay billions for a vaccine!? First things, first please! I can not believe we are stuck with a mentally ill president during this time of need!
Philipp (Germany)
I can't find words that would be appropriate to express how disgusted I am by the US government. And by the US people. Please remember: You are a democracy. You elected that guy. It's not just about Trump, it's about a whole country that has been losing its credibility for the last 20 years. You complain about others being anti-American? Well, at this point I am anti-American to the core. Ask yourselves why.
Michelle (Baltimore)
@Philipp Please don't blame ALL of us. After all, he LOST the popular vote by millions!
Akere (New York)
One did expect that the consummate businessman that our King Louie is, he has used the same cut throat approach to get the best. But, what is not clear is whether he will use the "best" for the benefit of all. This is how most pharma companies in US have operated. They would rather satisfy their unmitigated greed and that of their share holders than meet their obligations to the society they serve let alone to the tax payers on whose tab they often hit pay dirt. I am not talking about the types of Martin Skrelis. I am not even talking about the types who catch, buy the rights and then kill that very innovation that could have upended an existing product which gets them to their assured greater good -- their PROFITS.
GMengel (Westminster, CO)
i wrote both my Senator and my Congerssperson and referred this story to them, suggesting that Trump and his gang should be investigated over this. One is a Dem and the other is Republican. Their responses should be quite revealing.
Not 99pct (NY, NY)
@GMengel Investigation for looking to acquire vaccine R&D? Drug companies buy each other out all the time, across borders. Stop wasting your Senator's and Congressperson's time.
Steve (SW Michigan)
Merkel has Trumps number. She knows very well that if the U.S. took control of the firm, Trump would say America First, regardless of what he promised. His base would be very pleased that he would betray a democratic ally.
dwalle (Germany)
This company is mainly (80%) owned by a holding of one of the founders of SAP, with which he invested more than 2 billion in bio tech startups with then intention to help on global health problems. 2015 the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also invested a couple of million USD. But all three persons behind these holding and foundation as well as the managers and employees of this bio tech company never thought of working just for the benefit of a part of mankind. That is the obvious difference to a selfish narcissist and his „art of the deal“.
Piri Halasz (New York NY)
This is the kind of behavior that makes me ashamed to be an American. The attempt to buy a vaccine and then limit its use to American citizens (presumably with humongous profits for the drug companies involved) is the most vicious application of free-market capitalism that the world has yet seen.
William Everdell (Brooklyn)
Advancing privatization posts a new benchmark. We may soon forget what we used to mean by "public service" and the "public good." It's nice that so many of our doctors, nurses and medical professionals still remember. But with so many Americans in positions of authority believing that the American moral imperative is "every man for himself," it can't last.
Jean (Cleary)
Trump thinks everything and everyone is for sale. Based on his Administration's behavior it might be true. Trump's continued behavior towards our Allies puts us in more danger than ever. What is wrong with this man
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
In an interview with Germany’s Sport 1 radio Monday, Dietmar Hopp, the German billionaire who holds an 80 percent stake in CureVac said it was Trump who “spoke to the company.” “They immediately informed me and asked what I thought of it,” he said. “For me, it goes without saying, it cannot be that a German company develops the vaccine and it is used exclusively in the U.S.A.” Following Sunday’s Welt am Sonntag report, a White House official said aides were unaware of any offer from Trump to CureVac. The official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter by name cautioned, however, that Trump often has private conversations of which his staff is not aware.
Dakota (Michigan)
Was this not rebuffed today by the said company and the German ambassador. Considering how many people hate Trump in Germany I could see this being fabricated.
dwalle (Germany)
@Dakota : Well, contrary to the lies of the U.S. ambassador in Germany (or better the poodle of his master) it was confirmed by the German government and Ms. Merkel personally as well as the owner of the company. This billionaire refused the "offer" by saying that the objective is to do research and hopefully produce a vaccine for the world and mankind and not a single "region". You see the difference between this gentleman and the liar-in-chief?
Mary Elizabeth Lease (Eastern Oregon)
@Dakota not fabricated, Trump really is just that malign.
Mark B (Germany)
@Dakota Making stuff up out of thin air seems more like this one thing your weirdo president is really a genius at.
matteo (NL)
The reps have chosen not to impeach and have Trump judged by the ballot. So it will be! Good government becomes clear in a crisis and until now Trump has failed in many aspects. He gave away the budget necessary to fight the economic fallout of this upcoming crisis to the wealthy. He promised a far better national health system, but what came of it? He puts politics before science - that cost lives. He has not unfolded a convincing strategy. He created a social swamp by lying some 30000 times in the past period to the American people.
bp (neutral onserver interplanetary traveler)
Let us face the truth. Because Trump and Co. refused to use the World Health Organization's test we are the last nation to do testing and even now hardly enough and are at a place just as if we had not done it at all. Thus, we have ended up, because of Trump's incompetence and desire to line his buddies pockets, at a singular place in the world. That place is AMERICA LAST.
Jim S. (SWFL)
Have been "tracking" the German connection back to January and early February when it was cryptically announced that they had leapt forward in testing for the virus and that their platform was wholly approved by the WHO. No reports here why such testing apparatus wasn't embraced by the U.S. and Dr. Fauci rather adroitly side stepped the answer in last Friday's Q&A....Something to the effect of what's past is past....Now here we are with yet another new German chapter and enuf intrigue to make anyone sit up and take notice.. or really should. Most of us recognize that Trump's relationship with Europe is tenuous at best but might as well call it fragile when it comes to Chancellor Merkel and Germany. If a Billion USD was indeed offered ti seems like an awfully small price to pay for the well being of ALL mankind....
James Runser (South Carolina)
This guy has got to go. November is too far away and the further damage he could inflict on America and both our friends and foes is too great. Time for Article 25.
Voter (Chicago)
This is unbelievably cruel. Trump has said in essence, "Let them eat cake". Start new impeachment hearings now. This is the only way the United States can save face within the world's nations. It's also the only way we can secure access to a vaccine developed somewhere else. Especially Germany.
Dan (Ny)
Trump is a perfect example when you put a crooked businessman in charge of government. They think Money is the answer to everything.
AP (Los Angeles)
I definitely am not surprised that this happened - even if it seems to be 'alleged' at this point. In fact, I would go one step further: I wouldn't pass it by Trump, Kushner, or anyone in his family to privately try to buy their way into having exclusive rights to the vaccine for the Coronavirus or any other pathogen. It's all about money for them. While innocent, valuable, hardworking people are risking their health to stock shelves with food, take care of the critically ill, an try to keep the government running, these greedy and useless do-nothings are tying to make a buck from helplessness and tragedy. Let's get rid of them America!
Pat Ros (Libertyville, IL)
And we thought "W" and Cheney were bad...
ARNP (Des Moines, IA)
Humpty-Trumpty may in fact know "all the best people." The problem is, they also know him.
Di Arn (Portland)
Is this a crime?
bookophile (phila)
anyone who is still a republican is deplorable, in my book
Alex (Silver Spring MD)
Another perfect call.
MLH (Rural America)
There are US, Israeli and German firms working on developing a vaccine. It may be more effective if a collaborative research effort is made but it's obscene to even suggest that an effective vaccine will not be shared with the world. I didn't think Trump hatred would ever stoop to this level.
George T. (Portland, OR)
Even in the middle of a global crisis, the full moral bankruptcy of this man is on full display.
William (Memphis)
> PAY ATTENTION < Dictators seize power during periods of chaos and unrest. Who delayed our national response to COVID-19? To maximise eventual death & chaos? Who might use COVID-19 chaos to declare a State of Emergency, suspend the 2020 election, then declare Martial Law?
slangpdx (portland oregon)
I think something that should be emphasized here is that the American who had the meeting with WH is now out and replaced by an actual German.
Paulet (simsbury CT)
Hopefully Merkel will stand her ground I don't trust Trump in this. Wondering if Donald has been given an experimental as a test subject. For someone who is a germaphobe he is not acting like one believe me I have a family member who is one and there is big difference
Cornelia (Hot Springs AR)
First Trump wanted to buy Greenland. Now he wants to buy a German company to get a vaccine for “perhaps exclusive American use.” Why am I not surprised that the man who thinks he can “buy the best people anytime, at a moment’s notice,” wants to just outright buy the goods and forget the people? People are “so messy,” don’t you know! Just tie that pretty antiviral up in a pretty bow and drop it off at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
François (France)
It is really difficult to understand why such a person, obviously having very very few moral values, has a good chance of being re-elected. Like many Europeans, I am often surprised by the continual references to God that dot all your speeches and proclamations. We see there a huge hypocrisy, but I finally understood we are not talking about the same God! Failing to know mine, yours is much more obvious, it even has its sign: $ The USA was so attractive that it is all the more sad to see that this country is now a real repeller. I stop posting comments, otherwise I fear to be not very charitable !!
Sissy Space X (Ohio)
Look at all the Socialist ideas popping up during this crisis. Paid sick leave, buying a private company with public funds? From Trump?
S Fenton (here)
As a humanitarian gesture, and sweetened with an offer of $1B, would Germany please take this wayward immigrant-descendant back from us? He's good for reality shows, vaccine test trials, and a very equitable gas exchange with your Russian neighbor.
dwalle (Germany)
@S Fenton: No, we won't take him back now as Germany also in 1905 rejected re-naturalization of his grandfather because this guy was seen as a deserter and skulker. Maybe his blond friend Boris will take him because he has also Scottish ancestors. By doing so he can avoid to be in the EU, which he always denigrate.
DJM-Consultant (USA)
FIRE TRUMP and indite him for unethical conduct punishable by 100 years in jail. DJM
Foxrepublican (Hollywood,Fl)
Imagine Trump on the Titanic.
Allen McCready (Satellite Beach, FL)
Trump's duplicity once again reveals his narcissistic raw greed. Germany is definitely right to NOT trust trump. Congratulations Germany! So...trump has severely soiled, likely irreparably, international cooperation in combating the corona virus. Who knows how many more people will die or suffer needlessly because of just this downright devious dirty deed, aka a trumpism. Just, imagine trump as a for-life dictator, "God's chosen one" (in his mind), who has eradicated democracy in the USA. Scary isn't it. There is still time to prevent it, but that time is running out. Don't take it for granted.
chris87654 (STL MO)
Good for Germany. Best is ALWAYS to not trust or deal with Trump.
James Osborne (Durham)
Trump has brought the lowest ever derogatory meaning to the phrase "Ugly American."
interested party (nys)
Good old American capitalism. No holds barred, no indecent avenue unexplored, absolutely no shame or simple human generosity. That poor slob with the garage full of hand-wipes? Small potatoes while these "titans" of sleaze look towards the next bailout, and incidental pardon, from the absolute king of sleaze...envelope please...Donald John Trump!
MikeM (Fort Collins,CO)
So a company says it was threatened by Trump and Trump denies the allegation. Who you gonna believe? I don't believe a single word Comrade President Trump says about inauguration crowd sizes or releasing his tax forms once elected, so why would I believe this? Or anything he says about coronavirus?
Susan Hughes (St. Louis, MO)
@MikeM I don’t get what the “threat” was. A billion dollar buy out offer is not a threat. Mercenary but not threatening. Or did I read that wrong?
JackAndHarry (01430)
@Susan Hughes Seems like Trump wanted to buy out the company for exclusive access to the vaccine.
Peggy Rogers (PA)
Time to pay the piper and it's coming from our pockets. Any country trusting Trump would have a fool for a government. Any private company, a death wish.
Denise (Massachusetts)
This repulsive, venal, amoral waste of skin must be removed. Before we are entirely destroyed.
Jawredd (Utah)
Clickbait. "perhaps exclusively" in the first paragraph.
APatriot (USA)
Vile, is the Absolute Central Core Character of @realDonaldTrump It is so increadably vital that we remove this reprobate as far as possible from our Government.
François (France)
Until today we could think that Trump was a sinister moron, liar and coward (see Vietnam ...) but now it is clear that he is also a rotten bastard! Ready to buy research from a European lab and above all to put even more money so that we don't take advantage of it. It is at the limit of the crime against humanity and for sure, many of us will remember it as an act of war. No matter I imagine for the poor moron who belches maga, kaga and is sure to be smarter than an oyster. You have lost your allies, you are now creating enemies ...
PGB (AZ)
The predatory brand of capitalism that is practiced by Big Pharma in the United States is so corrupt that it is frightening.
Cody McCall (tacoma)
Why is anyone surprised that this morally bankrupt regime obsessed with greed should use this global health crisis to enrich themselves. It's what they do. I'm sure there are many more self-aggrandizing 'opportunities' they're trying to exploit for personal gain.
Sarah (California)
Anyone who imagines that there is a level of moral offense so low that Trump wouldn't stoop to it is blinkered. Vote Dem - our nation's survival depends on it.
Lazlo Toth (Sweden)
Wait a minute... I thought America had the best pharmaceutical companies and health care system since that is what the POTUS has been telling me since he took office. Is he now changing his mind on the topic and looking toward Europe for answers? Is cooperation not yet in his vocabulary?
C. Pierson (La La Land)
President Harry Truman kept a sign on his desk saying “The Buck Stops Here,” referring to the notion that the President has to make the decisions and accept the ultimate responsibility for those decisions. The sign on Trumps desk should be his recent quote, “I take no responsibility for anything.” Truly a despicable human being and a worse President.
Liz (Chicago, IL)
Let's not overstate the importance of CureVac's work. Breakthroughs are happening everywhere. Here's another: https://www.brusselstimes.com/all-news/belgium-all-news/100317/belgian-scientists-move-closer-to-coronavirus-treatment-antibody-vaccine-biotechnology-rega-institute-ugent/ Bill and Melinda Gates are funding many of these efforts, as stated in the article.
dwalle (Germany)
@Liz The bottom line is not about the importance of the company in question or the results bof their research. It's about the intention of the current incumbent of the office of POTUS to gain exclusive access to a possible vaccine ignoring the rest of mankind. That's something Bill & Melinda Gates definitely wouldn't like to be associated with.
Marie (Luxembourg)
How often have I thought, he can‘t go any lower? But he does, again and again. If this is true: „... Trump wanted the resulting vaccine “only for the United States.” „than he is the devil, maybe not even in disguise.
Mary (New York)
If they don't sell, is he going to send the US armed forces and force them to hand it over to him? Is it not how it work? If you don't give it to me, sell it to me, I will just take it from you. Because I am the strong man, and I can take and do whatever I want. This is the new Pax Americana.
Roberta Laking (Toronto)
If the US government is willing to splash out large sums for foreign biotechnology to protect US citizens, wouldn't it make sense to start with Germany's WHO-approved test kits used everywhere else in the world?
APatriot (USA)
@Roberta Laking BINGO!
Liz (Chicago, IL)
We are made to believe that the high prices we pay for our meds go into R&D and the rest of the world profits from it. Guess who's currently winning the race to beat the Coronavirus? Germany (CureVac) and Belgium (VIB-Ghent University). Seems like Europe's tuition-free college system is delivering benefits to America, rather than American drug price gouging is delivering benefits to Europe.
StatBoy (Portland, OR)
An intent to control the vaccine for exclusive use in the U.S. would be extremely disturbing. It's to U.S advantage that any effective vaccine should be shared globally. We should have learned by now at long last that if our neighbors (both locally and internationally) are being ravaged by something like Covid-19, that will be a threat to us. Any effort to restrict distribution of a vaccine will further confirm that the Administration still is not following sensible practices. Consider what the results might be if the U.S. strong-arms it's way to a vaccine product in this fashion and the vaccine developed by this company turns out to be ineffective. What other nation would then share their successful vaccines with a country that had tried to corner an effective vaccine for itself only? This sort of action would poison subsequent efforts at U.S. coordination with other nations - who in their right mind would trust U.S. intentions? A purchasing attempt like this does seem believable as a "Trump" strategy. What we SHOULD have done was preserve our CDC pandemic response team. Because there wasn't enough foresight to do that, the next response is to try to buy your way out of the resulting mess. It seems like a typical Trump MO, much similar to poorly considered actions taken previously with bankrupted Casinos, etc.
Barbara (California)
It has already been said by others responding to this article, but I will add my voice in condemning Trump and his followers for this thinly veiled attempt to control access to any vaccine developed against the coronavirus.
Mathias Weitz (Frankfurt aM, Germany)
Martin Shkreli on a global scale. All nation understood, this is a crisis that affects all nations and we have to work together. China were the first to sequence the genome of the virus, and they immediately shared their knowledge, they didn't asked for any benefits or anything in return. Does Trump understand, what we germans, what all the europeans would perceive, when we realize, our citizens are dying because this oligarch wants to ensure his reelection and make profit out of a global crisis ? And he want to do it by bribing a small company, which is working in tandem with taxpayer funded research institutions ? The US has reached a new low in international reputation. America has become anything but great again.
Kate Hill (Brooklyn)
@Mathias Weitz I hope you and people around the world know that many Americans don’t share Trump’s Me-First attitude. Good wishes to the German people in this time of crisis. Here’s hoping we can work together for the benefit of humanity and the planet. Maybe we can set up or hook into some international online collaborative learning efforts or pen pal scenarios for our kids...
N’est Pas Une Pipe (Chicago)
@Kate Hill indeed, most of us do not.
Really? (Texas)
Some say this article is doubtful rumor, but really, it's extremely 'sad' that it's believable rumor. Trump and allies have illustrated on many occasions that avarice, self-promotion, self-interest, and competition are the guiding principles of this administration. They embody some of the basest qualities in human nature. In a sci-fi apocalyptic movie, they'd be the human-eating zombies.
pablo (spain)
the article mentioned that this company is partially funded by the German taxpayer, cannot believe that Trump's administration wants to have anything to do with those socialist projects. What would be next trying to buy Airbus as the air force one?
dwalle (Germany)
@pablo: Do you really mean that funding ground research with federal money is a socialist project? Well, you should google a little bit how many "socialist" project funding" is done for companies in the military-industrial complex of the U.S.. But be aware, ou might change your mind after finding the facts. And in fact, it's not a bad idea to buy Airbus planes. They are not grounded because of a lack of competence and overwhelming greed.
DogRancher (New Mexico)
- It should be remembered Donald Trump is a figure head of a large enterprise. It should be noted that Donald Trump is the perfect president for the Right Wing, the Republican, and the Conservative with his overactive reptilian mind. I think Derek Thompson did a good job of explaining. "For decades, the Republican Party has committed itself to destroying state capacity, disparaging science, punishing expertise, and masquerading as populist while enriching narrow interests. It has all led to this: an undetected pandemic spreading, likely exponentially, as the president and his representatives mock the disease and oversee a state apparatus too incompetent to test for it. The resilience of some American institutions many miles from Pennsylvania Avenue may temporarily blunt this federal ineptitude, but it cannot for long overcome it. At some point, the competence gap between Washington and America has to close. At some point, a state that survives needs a government bent on something more than its own self-destruction." America Is Acting Like a Failed State - by Derek Thompson Staff writer at The Atlantic --
ARNP (Des Moines, IA)
Whether this administration was being honest or not when asserting that they would not keep the vaccine from the rest of the world, Humpty's track record of constant lies and denials makes it impossible for any other country to take him at his word, in any situation. This is the lesson most parents teach their children before third grade. The man-baby is trusted by no one. It's too late for him to even attempt to salvage his reputation. And our whole country, red and blue, is suffering the consequences.
Maria (Garden City, NY)
With this approach Trump may end up with a vaccine that is totally bogus. It may do nothing. It may cause serious harm. We don’t need a Trump University solution to corona virus.
bu (DC)
The Trump Admin as most interested in getting the exclusive rights on the potential C-Virus vaccine basically to control the world market with this privilege. Mr. Menichella, an American, was fired by the biotechnology company because of the ethical concerns that the Trump Admin would exploit the exclusive rights and not share the vaccine with other affected nations except for huge payments. Trump, the evil dealmaker fell flat on his face in this one, and "Czar" Pence as well. Menichella, an economist not a scientist, was fired, rightly so, because of his willingness to make this shady deal. One Trump in this American C-Virus mismanagement is enough for creating chaos.
Hans (Europe)
After hearing this, we Europeans have no other choice but to treat the USA as a hostile adversary.
renarapa (brussels)
Is there any hope for the world to imagine a different GOP and free mind Republicans, who should ensure retirement of the current POTUS in order to save America and the rest of our planet? Have the Republicans lost any sense of the American general interest and decided to sink the Great Old Party together with Trump and ruin the great nation who should still lead the West? See the deep crack in the Atlantic Alliance comparing this vaccine story with the picture of the Chinese doctors landed in Rome to help the Italians!! It seems that the American POTUS is seriously doing everything to destroy the global leadership conquered at a cost by his predecessors.
Stacey (Pasadena, CA)
This is so insidious...It makes those in the current administration more like super-villains...there are some dark forces working behind the scenes.
Arlene (Holmes, PA)
European governments should ban all Americans from their shores. They should also ban any travel to the US by their citizens as long as Trump remains president. When I say all Americans I incluide Trump and anyone in his administration or associated with anyone in his administration.
dwalle (Germany)
@Arlene No, by doing that we would come down to the level of this selfish and narcissistic liar-in-chief.
Jean-Claude Arbaut (Besançon, France)
The US are now definitely a rogue state. Trump is mad, evil, but not very smart: even if he had succeeded, there would have been immediate and worldwide consequences and sanctions. If he were to show us the US don't wan't to share, then, it's simple, we would learn to live without the US. Without anything from the US. No more extortion, no more trade war when there is no trade at all. Now it seems obvious the the US with Trump is much more dangerous to global peace than China with Xi. This pandemic is eye opening.
dukesphere (san francisco)
For shame! Isolating ourselves from the world instead of working together across national boundaries will be the death of us, literally.
KD Lawrence (Nevada)
We don’t have virus vaccines for one simple reason… private equity, venture capitalist, big banks and the wealth can’t make billions off of it or does conform to their thoughts on the essential functions of government. Unfortunately, the US Congress is too dependent on their campaign and slush fund money to do anything about it --- the effect is the US has the best bought and paid for government in the world.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Wondering how the pro-life folks like this president now? Is it pro-life to say the virus is a hoax? Is it pro-life to slow roll testing? Is it Pro-life to falsely tell everyone it’s all under control? Is it pro-life to fire the pandemic team? If pro-life people were really about life they would be outraged- their silence shows they don’t care about life- just control.
Cindy (flung out of space)
@Deirdre they haven't changed their opinion of him one little bit. I still see remarks in comment sections on various other sites, screaming about how "pro-life" they are while professing their undying devotion to trump, going into rhapsodies about what a great man he is. Don't think this is going to change their opinions about him, because it won't.
Seth (Tampa FL)
@Deirdre They only are "pro-life" for the unborn. They don't give a hoot about life after it's born.
whaddoino (Kafka Land)
We already knew about the character of the First Fraud. What is more revealing every day is the equally rotten character of his besotted admirers.
David D. (Florida)
Whose billion dollars, I wonder?
MFS (Neptune, NJ)
Vote.Them.Out. This is a corrupt government that only understands life as a series of transactions that will benefit them.
Keith (Merced)
War and disease profiteers are cut from the same cloth. We need to soldier through this pandemic and elect people who believe in science instead of fleecing people over this pandemic.
Kerm (Wheatfields)
Another Great example of why we should vote for Bernie Sanders in 2020....
DogRancher (New Mexico)
@Kerm - I totally agree with you.
Bella (The City Different)
If all the information presented are true, then the only thing not shocking is the depth of the slime pit which is trump, inc.
Lewis (London)
The longer that imp stays in office the lesser Americans are in the eyes of the world (which is unfortunate). I used to think of him as a fool now I can see he is the devil indeed taking his ‘America First’ ideology to new heights. First he’ll decide only Americans can have it and then he’ll decide only the ‘right’ kind of American should have it. Whatever disgust you feel now, whatever shame you feel as an American at these new lows VOTE. Vote for your souls, for your children’s, vote for your country but more so vote for decency. It must be restored.
Frederick DerDritte (Florida)
In Germany, there is an understood bond of confidentiality between corporations, government research facilities and the people. As well as well as in human interaction. The idea of a possible profit motive as proposed by Trump and his associates is criminal and repulsive. F3
soulou (IL)
Thanks for this and all the NYT is doing to get the truth out here-please follow up with the information that comes out from the German meeting today. In CV notice about Menichella "stepping down" as CBO it's noted he was largely responsible for agreements with Eli Lilly. Menichella prior to being CBO of the company was CBO of it's US subsidy. Alex Azar the Trump appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services, was the "top lobbyist for Eli Lilly. Big Pharm already has many billions of dollars of profits and benefits from tax payer drug research programs. A Democrat tried to get legislation passed last week to limit prices on test and vaccines for this virus which was quashed by the GOP. So, middle classers, many of whom are now not working because of the virus-and more to come likely, will bear the brunt of the cost. David Lenhard's (I know spelling off) month to month bungling of this catastrophe by Trump and appointees who have little background and education about the departments they lead is spot on. Something Obama said around the time of Trump's the inauguration after he met with him has stuck with me all this long 3 years. He said something like "I only told him that on main thing he needs to understand is that 'the buck stops with him". He is the ultimate leader. This is all on him. I hope voters remember in November.
Anne (MA)
@soulou the plot thickens as more info comes to light. You can only imagine how much money theses crooks would make if this deal went through. Good the Germans figured this out!
Richard Monckton (San Francisco, CA)
Four years ago, Americans voted for an arrogant narcissistic clown with an obvious disdain for science and knowledge to lead them into the future. One of the first steps that arrogant narcissist took was to dismantled the pandemic response team and fire anyone with any hint of scientific and economic knowledge who had the audacity to linger near the White House - knowledge and truth, for the first time in American History, became blemishes and ignorance and lies became virtues. For four long years, ignorance reigned supreme, and White America applauded. We aren't applauding that much now, are we.
DogRancher (New Mexico)
@Richard Monckton - It is more than just Donald Trump. In many ways Donald Trump is the perfect president for the Right Wing, the Republican, and the Conservative. "For decades, the Republican Party has committed itself to destroying state capacity, disparaging science, punishing expertise, and masquerading as populist while enriching narrow interests. It has all led to this: an undetected pandemic spreading, likely exponentially, as the president and his representatives mock the disease and oversee a state apparatus too incompetent to test for it. The resilience of some American institutions many miles from Pennsylvania Avenue may temporarily blunt this federal ineptitude, but it cannot for long overcome it. At some point, the competence gap between Washington and America has to close. At some point, a state that survives needs a government bent on something more than its own self-destruction." America Is Acting Like a Failed State - by Derek Thompson Staff writer at The Atlantic --
dwalle (Germany)
@Richard Monckton: Well, the rest of the world acknowledge that he was more "selected" than elected, because the majority of voters didn't vote for him. Only your mediaval system of the "Electoral College" made it happen. It's up to all voters to elect in the future representatives and senators who change this into a system were one vote is counted as one vote.
Danny (Cologne, Germany)
Trump knows he has utterly botched the response to the pandemic "bigly" with breathtaking incompetence, so now he's desperate to find something to wave about and say "See? I'm the one who fixed it." As with everything else, he only cares about how it makes him look. This is just another example of how truly despicable he is.
DogRancher (New Mexico)
@Danny - Hard to know what Donald Trump really understands. - As Trump can't even get thru his prepared remarks without charging off into some strange direction. --
Lisa Shacket (Phoenix)
After reading this, I feel like I have to take a shower. I, for sure, am washing my hands.
DogRancher (New Mexico)
@Lisa Shacket - Yup, I understand totally.
e.s. (cleveland, OH)
If Trump was successful in buying the German vaccine company (likely with taxpayer dollars) wouldn’t Trump give the exclusivity clause to a private American company(s) to produce the vaccine? I maybe wrong but wouldn’t a private company need this “exclusive” safeguard before they gear up to produce the vaccine? My problem is then the private American companies can charge huge amounts for the vaccine to Medicare, Medicaid, insurance companies, the uninsured and other counties. Would we make this vaccine available to other suffering countries like Russia, China, Iran, Venezuela, Syria, etc?
Sylvia P. (Bend, OR)
Trump is desperate, absolutely desperate, to succeed in his re-election bid. To fail means he will not outlast the statute of limitations on his crimes (money laundering, tax evasion, fraud, who knows what else) that are currently under investigation at the SDNY. So once he’s a private citizen again in 2021 he will be prosecuted and go to jail. However, if he is re-elected the statutes of limitation for his crimes will come into effect by 2025 and he will be safe from prosecution. He doesn’t care how many people die from this pandemic or whether they die in Germany or the US. All he cares about is being able to announce that HE has a vaccine so he will be re-elected and therefore able to stay out of jail. The coronavirus is the worst thing that could happen to the Trump administration, really showcasing its abject incompetence just when the American people need competence in our federal government the most. The only thing that will save him is a vaccine. Since he doesn’t understand science, he thinks a vaccine can be made available in time to save the election for him, thus his desperate grab for the intellectual property of CureVac. Trump’s actions are pathetic, shameful, COMPLETELY desperate, and futile.
Markymark (San Francisco)
Not surprising that Jared Kushner is trying to monetize this pandemic as he also leads our effort to combat it. With this criminal republican administration, money trumps everything else.
Markus (Berlin)
As a German who lived in the US for a year as a foreign exchange student, I generally admire American culture for its openness and creativity. What saddens me in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic is how it seems to shed light on Trump’s moral values, or rather a staggering lack thereof. Past American presidents, Democrat and Republican, seemed to be able to make use of soft power and demonstrate leadership not only nationally but especially on an international level. German politicians have tried every trick in the book to appease and remain “reasonable“ in their dealings with Trump’s “unconventional” style of politics. It is rather unusual that German politicians utter confrontational statements like these, quoted in English on theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/16/not-for-sale-anger-in-germany-at-report-trump-seeking-exclusive-coronavirus-vaccine-deal “German researchers are taking a leading role in developing medication and vaccines as part of global cooperation networks. We cannot allow a situation where others want to exclusively acquire the results of their research.” foreign minister Heiko Maas or “International co-operation is important now, not national self-interest,” Erwin Rüddel, conservative lawmaker on the German parliament’s health committee Trump quite literally doesn’t seem to mind walking on dead bodies to further his own ego and career...
Mary (New York)
Dear Germany, If you do entertain this proposition, I recommend that you get paid upfront. Just ask prior contractors in the Trump world.
Jason M (St. Louis)
Trump makes another “perfect” phone call.
sophia (bangor, maine)
He is not trustable. He's not a good person in the moral sense. He lies. The world knows it. When will 43% of Americans know it? I'm ready to ask Justin for political asylum.
Paul from Oakland (SF Bay Area)
The Trump regime's ham -fisted attempts to monopolize a potential cure for COVID-19 should be regarded not as a farce but as an international crime against humanity. No wonder that a year ago the Trump regime ordered that no International Criminal Court staff be permitted entry into the US. We are staring down the barrel of American fascism.
DCeleste (FL)
Didn't Trump trash Germany and insult Angela Merkel last year? Now the Trump Administration wants to buy their research. I know Germany will do the right thing and help the world get through this.... Trump?... no way. Don't do it Germany.... we need you to save the world. Angela Merkel is one of a few in the western world that has shown true leadership.
J L. S. (Alexandria VA)
EU countries should immediately ban flights from the US!
NFirinne (London)
If this story is true, Trump and his cronies are even more vile than anyone would have thought. This is a pandemic with people around the world dying. Reseach labs should all be pressing ahead and sharing information. When vaccines are developed, they should be tested on a collaborative. When proven it should be shared universally with restriction, preference or prejudice. Anything less is beyond any concept of humanity or even basic christianity. Beyond shameful and beyond disgusting!
NFirinne (London)
@NFirinne Apologies for some of the typos. I was so enraged and upset when I read this story, my attention to detail escaped me briefly. Any vaccine should be shared without restrictions of any sort.
Mary (NYC)
@NFirinne The fact that this man still sits as president is breathtaking. Yes, it takes your breath away.
Kaneda (CA)
@NFirinne A week ago, Trump is not doing enough. Now, he is vile when he tried to do something for his people. He is US president, not earth president. :)
Socrates (Downtown Verona. NJ)
According to the German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag, Trump offered CureVac roughly $1 billion in exchange for exclusive access to the vaccine and an unnamed German government source who said Trump wanted the resulting vaccine “only for the United States.” ----- Trump is the kind of a guy who would want the vaccine only for himself, his family and people who voted for him....and not a single other human. He's the first and only guy into the lifeboat.....abandoning women, children, seniors and 'others' to save himself. What an international disgrace Individual #1 is.
D Price (Wayne, NJ)
@Socrates Amen, Glen. Do you share my feeling that if Trump had pulled off this dirty deal and actually had a vaccine in hand, he'd try to legislate its availability only to the Red states?
BSargent (Berlin, NH)
@Socrates When asked about the dismantling of the White House Emergency Pandemic Response unit, Trump said: "I take no responsibility for that." In other words, anything good that happens(or doesn't happen!) he takes credit for, but anything that he or his appointees do that is disastrous, he has nothing to do with. He has placed millions of Americans at risk...to defend his ego and his re-election chances. How sick.
Marymary28 (Sunnyside NY)
@Socrates What is worse, he'll probably get re-elected. Yesterday, there was an article in this paper giving trump supporters opinions on why they'll vote for him again
Never Ever Again (Michigan)
More proof at how much of an inept president we have along with a totally unqualified and inept Administration. Time for that to change in November folks. Let's take back our Government from these thieves along with the good name we USED to hve
Bach (Grand Rapids, MI)
@Never Ever Again Actually, let’s not wait for November. Anyone for a little 25th Amendment action?
Nearlyblind (Toronto)
@Never Ever Again The first task will be easier than the second. The world is wary now.
H. A. Sappho (LA)
BOTTOMLESS The Trump way: Buy somebody else’s success and take credit for it himself. He’s done it his entire life. He stamps “TRUMP” on everything. He did it with the “TRUMP” economy. Now he’s trying to stamp “TRUMP” on a vaccine for the pandemic—and then make a speech from the Rose Garden as the man who saved the world. Moral: There is no bottom for a completely Hollow Man.
gc (va)
there it is folks. the moral black hole that has consumed the white house is clearly visible.
cheryl (yorktown)
The word from a friend - American citizen, German-born, living in Switzerland - - is that if folks there didn't already think he was a dangerous clown, now they are convinced he's a treacherous direct threat to their health as well.
Max (Germany)
Funny how the privat health care system that told everybody for years that they charge so much in the US because they put it all in science and development...now it turns out they are behind and have to buy up companies from socialist Europe -.-
Janderson (AUSTIN, texas)
The market slide today is a NO CONFIDENCE vote in Trump and the brain trust at the podium. Maybe if they get on their knees and beg, President Obama can come back and show them how to handle a pandemic. Otherwise the TrumpTrain will destroy what’s left of our economy and our nation.
PaulN (Columbus, Ohio, US of A)
One word: chutzpah.
Ray Zielinski (Colorado Springs)
Donald Trump, vulture capitalist.
gene (fl)
The USA is now the USSR of my childhood.
JL (NY)
There is truly no limit to his depravity. Let’s hope history vilifies him and his sycophants (assuming civilization survives this crisis that he has only made worse)
Mike Iker (California)
Donald Trump’s publicly known behavior has demonstrated to nations around the world that he is a completely untrustworthy liar. Imagine what he has done behind the scenes. The Mueller probe and the impeachment hearings are the tip of the iceberg. American voters unleashed a monstrous thug on the world. Astonishingly, millions of us still believe him. I hope to God that millions more of us will vote him out of office and drag him out if he refuses to leave.
Sterling (Brooklyn, NY)
Sad but not surprising. Selfishness is what the GOP is built. Whole party is nothing but callous greedy white people. That’s why they adore Trump.
Harvey Green (Santa Fe, NM)
Industrial espionage, is it not? And with one of our allies, which indicates, if we didn't already know, what a bum Trump is. LeBron James had it right from the beginning.
Buck (Flemington)
Normally this article would be passed off as fake news however knowing the crowd in the White House anything is possible. Probably just another act in the Trump tragedy play. Dump them in November.
DontHateMe (ForHavingADifferentView)
Before being so quick to let personal politics decide which country you really believe is more likely to freely share any vaccine here, I urge every American replying (especially during what are now TRULY difficult times) to have a little think about the following; especially in regards to the 2nd question (which, without a doubt, has a less-obvious answer): - At less than 300 years old, to this day, what is the USA known for providing to the world? ....Leader, by far, in providing the world and 100+ nations w global stability, protection, financial & humanitarian aid, and unquantifiable measures of philanthropic/ technological/ democratic/ healthcare/ medical/ scientific/ military/ economic/ educational/ etc. advancements & assistance. - At least over a 1000 years old, to this day, what is Germany known for providing to the world?...????
Claire Green (Washington DC)
Your analogy is false. We may believe in our country, but to all thinking and decent Americans Trump is the revolting antithesis of everything just and moral and humane. Nothing American about him. Merkel’s behavior as a leader is just, moral and humane. My parents fought for our country in WWII, and they fought to preserve the American values that Trump and his supporters have destroyed practically overnight.
Rob Brown (Keene, NH)
This incredibly selfish move by Trump makes me even more embarrassed to be an American. Koch brothers and their Libertarian nonsense 1 Americans 0 Don’t like the score? Then only way to change it is to vote.
Kerm (Wheatfields)
The bill that has just past in the House in reaction to the spread of the coronavirus will allow pharmaceuticals to reap major profits from any vaccine. Some politicians in Washington did not want this and others (republicans more notably) felt it would hinder research(profits). Would think research is continuing, along with the politics/lobbying unfortunately. Sounds more like profits instead are most important here, again not the peoples health and well being. Better to be the owner/discoverer? or the discoverer/sharer? Reuters also broke this story.
Ed (Seattle)
I thought Trump didn't believe in vaccines.
barney555 (NH)
Of all the contemptible things the current occupant of the White House has done, this might be the worst.
Larry (St. Paul, MN)
I hope the NY Times investigates the financial interests that members of the Trump and Kushner families have in both vaccine development and covid-19 testing.
Kelley (California)
Where was #45 when Berlin had COVID-19 tests kits available for global distribution soon after China released the genome sequence? Instead in all of his glorious arrogance/ignorance, the supreme negotiator in chief, gave a hard pass. Genius.
PeterW (NEW YORK)
Such a typical American response to everything - if you don't have it, buy it.
Claire Green (Washington DC)
Not American response. Trumpian and Republican. I am an Independent.
Sissy Space X (Ohio)
@PeterW ....Who is putting up the money for the German research company? The United States? Wouldn't that be Socialism?
henrydedrick (san antonio, tx)
@Claire Green some call it "Imperialism" some just call it the golden rule. distasteful, but it's been here for a long, long, time.
Farmersam (oklahoma)
If ya can't buy Greenland
Sixofone (The Village)
With a slogan like "America first," German suspicion should be expected.
Cornflower Rhys (Washington, DC)
Is this representative of the new Christianity? all the vaccine for me, none for you?I guess Pence is OK with this.
ACB (CT)
OUT! vote November.
r mackinnon (concord, ma)
There is NOTHING that six time serial bankrupt, tacxcheat, and proven sociopath Donald J Trump will not do to make a fast buck for himself. There is no corrupt activity he will avoid if he thinks it will help him skew an election. He is a pox to democracy and is the biggest threat to national and global security.
Oldgoalie (Ontario)
Is anyone surprised? There are no morals or ethics in the White House.
Jack Lohrmann (Tuebingen, Germany)
I live just a couple of meters from CureVac. Now I am proud of its Tuebinger co-owners for rejecting this unsurpassably immoral US offer. How sick must the president of my native country be for such propositioning? And how tolerant my German friends are in sharing my anguish. Jack Lohrmann
Paul-A (St. Lawrence, NY)
Here's even more irony for us all (from Yahoo News): "The co-founder of Chinese online marketplace Alibaba (BABA) has sent a shipment of surgical masks and coronavirus test kits to the United States. Chinese billionaire Jack Ma posted two pictures of pallets of the supplies being loaded on to a China Eastern Airlines jet in Shanghai. Ma, who is Asia's richest person, pledged to donate 500,000 testing kits and one million masks to America earlier this month. The tweet read: “The first shipment of masks and coronavirus test kits to the US is taking off from Shanghai. All the best to our friends in America.”
NOTATE REDMOND (TEJAS)
Trump just embarrassed us again. He is solely invested in being the “savior” of us all. He buys a vaccine and trumpets his accomplishment far and wide! What a guy. The Germans wisely blew him off. Slimey trick President Grifter.
Detached (Minneapolis)
"Mr. Trump offered CureVac roughly $1 billion in exchange for exclusive access to the vaccine." That sounds entirely consistent with everything we know about Trump. He is worse than those goobers in Tennessee who were gouging for hand sanitizer. This guy has no morals.
William Wright (Baltimore, MD)
This is immoral, un-Christian and damaging to our relations with the rest of the world. How can those that claim to be strict of followers of Christ still support this evil man?
JHW (Longmont, CO)
Among the things I found interesting about this is that funding for CureVac comes from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. A foundation that is supported by several European governments, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Foundation (UK). I could find no other US linked funding. How ironic that a company funded in part by these sources was, if proven accurate, muscled by our president to give us exclusive rights to their product! BTW companies, mobsters, powerful people, etc. do not actually ask they signal. This is why collusion is so hard to prove in any area. If our country continues to destroy worldwide trust and relationships there may come a time when our allies (if any are left) cannot support us as their citizens would rise up in revolt.
Eric (Paoli, PA)
Look on the bright side. If Trump spent over a minute thinking about this it would be a new personal best for him.
Urs (Konstanz)
Who needs an enemy if you have an ally like the US? And no, don't tell me it's just Trump. He is your elected president.
Cindy (flung out of space)
@Urs But you need to remember that the American people actually elected Hillary Clinton. It's the Electoral College that appointed trump President. So please don't paint all of us with the trump brush.
Frank McNeil (Boca Raton, Florida)
Clearly, Mr. Trump never learned from his parents the difference between "can" and "may". He "can" buy a vaccine company but he "may not" in the circumstances discussed here. The American executive became a human sacrifice even thought it appears he may have acted honorably, giving his investors readout of his White House meeting. The fact he is gone prompts questions: 1) Did the White House offer him a bribe of some sort if he could arrange the sale? 2) Did the White House want the U.S. government to buy the firm? Did it want the firm sold to private interests? Which ones? And did such private interests have ties to the President? The answers will tell us whether it was just a bad idea or something far worse.
J. Kerr (Stuttgart)
Now that the virus has entered Trumps reality, he knows for a fact that the US, under his administration, is the only country prepared to handle this emergency. The fact that he cares about moving the research to the US rather than just buying the IP when it's available suggests that it's a matter of national pride. Most people, and certainly the stock market and the national economy don't really care where the recipe for a mitigation or vaccine originally comes from.
Mark Renfrow (Dallas Tx)
Whatever is actually true or false about this developing story, it does begin to illuminate a president increasingly concerned about reelection. My guess is any attempt like this was to offset his initial poor handling of the crisis. Isn't there a medical term for people who create a crisis just to solve it for their own ego/benefit?
SDT (Global Citizen)
I’m 65 and remember lining up in the auditorium in my NYC elementary school to be handed a sugar cube containing a life saving polio vaccine. Free to everyone, no questions asked. In today’s America, that would literally be unthinkable. The writing is on the wall...if an American firm is first to develop a treatment or vaccine, expect that the world, including us, by the way, will pay our pound of flesh and then some to be cured. Profit above everything is the American way. 3 weeks ago I didn’t think I could be any more disgusted by our government, but they keep proving me wrong.
Drew (San Diego)
@SDT this was my first reaction to this story as well--Jonas Salk must be rolling in his grave.
Bill (Madison, Ct)
The rest of the world has no reason to trust trump and the United States. They'd be crazy to allow this to happen.
Pete (CT)
Instead of wasting money on Trump’s wall it should be shared among those labs working on promising vaccines regardless of where they are located.
lake (Michigan)
Indeed. Let's refrain from "making this political." He desires to claim he "cured" the pandemic. Who actually believes he has a billion dollars??
Rose (WV)
@lake, I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be his billion dollars. It would be our tax money.
Diane (NM)
Where does Trump plan to get his hands on the takeover (bribe) money? Is there an authorization? An appropriation?
Kate Hill (Brooklyn)
First he turned down an offer of a test kit from the German government, then he tried wrest control of a vaccine from a German company and was put off. After three years of bullying NATO and the EU, thousands of Americans will die because he has no capacity for empathy and is incapable of working with anyone. I for one don’t believe he’d share that vaccine with anyone outside of Trumpworld. I can see it now: Ex-Trumpworld: We need the vaccine to save our families. Trump: I need a favor, though.
paul m (boston ma)
All of this is hearsay and ridiculous , obviously the Trump administration would not say that the vaccine would be "only for the United States" as if somehow that would even be possible or would be tolerated by US citizens or allies , etc the rebellion in the US alone against such a concept would entirely overthrow any alleged effort to enforce it. This is exclusively anti Trump Europeans bolivating and of course most NYT commentators also take it seriously because it gives them yet another , false , justification for self righteous bravado. Though , note , an American ran CureVac and now that he spearheaded critical research and demonstrably aided the firm for two years they boot him apparently because he is an American.
John (Philadelphia)
@paul m You said that "obviously the Trump administration would not say that the vaccine would be "only for the United States".... You may be right about the administration as a whole. But, Trump does things on his own (without anyone in his administration knowing what he is doing; a horrific habit he has that leads to incredible confusion for his fearful staff). The other point I'll make is clear to see: The words "only for the United States" is something Trump has said only a billion times. It's something he would say verbatim; adding to the validity of the story.
Bicycle Girl (Phoenix, AZ)
@paul m Obviously? I don't know where you get that. Trump's relationships, both domestic and international, are purely and historically transactional. This is just another reflection of "America (aka Trump) first". Trump doesn't share. There is no "greater good" in his way of thinking. It would not surprise me if his intention is to turn this into a money maker, extracting huge sums from European governments for access to the resulting vaccine and that much later we learn of existing financial ties to Trump and the Kushner families.
dwalle (Germany)
@paul m: Daniel Menichella was fired because of his behavior and the hidden dealings he tried to to with the Trump administration. By the way, the founder was his predeccessor as CEO until 2018 and is now his successor. So not an "American" spearheaded this company for a long time but the German founders and scientists. Anyway, the bottom line is the brazenness with which so-called "deal makers" focus on money and not on public health. You can call this "socialist", I call it normal human behavior in face of a global crisis such as COVID-19.
C.P. (Riverside, CA)
Why do we think the U.S doesn't have test kits? We could have been testing many more by now but instead the powers that be wanted to figure out how to make a profit first.
Elusive Otter (Slippery Rock)
When the world is experiencing a pandemic, attempting to secure exclusive access to a vaccine is essentially an act of war.
Sandra (CA)
Another reason for our allies to turn their backs on us! Not good. Nothing to be proud of.
Bryce (Chicago)
Shouldn't we be sharing research anyways? If you want this problem to be solved quickly, that's what should be happening.
Dan (Los Angeles)
The level of malice and incompetence of this administration exceeds imagination. Germany, our trusted ally, is now treating us as potential enemies, and for good reason. Trump has effectively broken NATO with the support of the GOP. Both, the president and his contemptible party should be eliminated from politics
Hauke (Germany)
The German trust in the Trump administration couldn't be lower. The German goverment same as the CureVac officals stated that a vaccine must be made available to all of the worlds population. At the moment it seems that China is more an allied to Europe then USA are. The times when Germany and USA where close and trusting partners seem so far away now.
Claire Green (Washington DC)
I billion dollars of the taxpayer’s money for exclusive rights. Who exactly will have the exclusive rights? Will the United States Prez be able to trade vaccine in return for the cooperation of foreign countries in undermining the US citizens who are running against him?
It’s New Here (Kansas)
Where do the adults in the room go when Trump stops watching television and shows up for a meeting? Our national embarrassment continues.
Bs (Seattle, WA)
This looks like the kind of exercise of executive powers under emergency declarations Schumer was worried about.
Peter P. Bernard (Detroit)
I think Trump is right--It's still women and children first and he's fighting for a place on all sides
FS (Germany)
While sadly unsurprising, this selfish move feels like the top-level equivalent of the people buying out toilet paper and hand sanitizer stocks to sell them back to those in need at marked-up prices. Who needs enemies when they are allied with a government as corrosive as that of the Trump era? All this at a time that will require solidarity above all else to navigate through - on both sides of the pond. I wish the company best of luck and hope this will become available to all patients eventually.
bt365 (Atlanta)
No surprise from coming from unethical, self-aggrandizing opportunist and his flock. Kim. Trump. MBS. Nasser. On and on. Will roll in meadow grass with joy if live long enough to see America return to sanity, but am realist and even baby steps improvements will be desperately welcome.
Thorsten Fleiter (Baltimore)
That’s a new low - but demonstrates quite well how incompetent the Trump administration actually is: they are unable to unify the vast research potential this country has to take the lead in fighting this virus pandemic. Americans were always at the forefront fighting the most bizarre and deadly diseases around the world - now this administration has diminished that stellar reputation so much that they have to rely on some shady moves to get some help to fight the virus impact. The total failure of the “America First” isolationism on full display!
Elizabeth (Roslyn, NY)
Trump and the GOP see the opportunity for huge profit. A Covid-19 vaccine in their complete control. So 'throw money at it' is another Trump administration response which fails to capture the humanity and reality of the situation. How many other companies are they trying to bribe? Another example of the 1% taking care of their own. The rich will stay healthy while the serfs suffer.
HF (Portland)
Question: Reporting on NPR described this interaction as the Trump Administration offering this German firm a billion dollars for "exclusive rights" to any vaccine they develop (and the German government is furious). That's pretty different. Which is it?
Pedrito (Paris - France)
Let's be honest: Trump did it but if democrats were at the White House they would have tried the same move. This is the US culture: everything is about moey and "we do it because we can". Trump is an easy scapegoat for your nation but you should face the reality which is that in your country more than any other western one, money is the greatest value and common good a fuzzy concept from the past. The US almost make European countries nice and virtuous in comparison (not an easy achievement though!)
mjw (DC)
@Pedrito No. Obama recognized that we had allies and that basic collaboration is an important, normal, human, Christian thing. The immoral con man in the White House is so crooked, he is self-sabotaging.
Pedrito (Paris - France)
@mjw Obama talked a lot, which does not cost much. I cannot remember what he actually did to improve the transatlantic relationship as he was only interested by Asia, considering his "old european allies" as futureless nations. Well, the last ime we could have bilateral relationship with one US president, it was the last century with B. Clinton. He was a nice-looking crook but we could talk peer to peer. 20 years later Europe became a threat among others to the US. And from our side... Well, we are fed up with the US. The nation that liberated our grand parents has changed a lot...
N.R.JOTHI NARAYANAN (PALAKKAD-678001, INDIA.)
Every nation has its own innate identity and roots of inheritance in STEM subjects. I can't expect the expertise of NASA on space science in Germany and in the same way I can't expect the unique edge of the glass products starting from a TV screen to the chemical plants having exothermic reactions made of the high coefficient of thermal expansion by the 135 year old SCHOTT at Mainz in Germany. Two days ago, I could read a company's colorful brochure boasting of its 'products shifting' by pneumatic transportation. It made me to think of my association with Dyno industrier,Drammen in Norway and their smooth & safe pneumatic transportation of highly hygroscopic chemical during my visit in 1975. As a leader of NATO, US couldn't have attempted to hijack the invention of Germany with its affluence.The world is proud of Albert Einstein neither by his American citizenship nor by his birth as a German but by his contribution to the world by his "theory of relativity". Above all, Chancellor Merkel is a scientist in "Quantum Chemistry" and her strength in physical chemistry could be a catalyst to give the necessary support to Cure Vac. The uncanny attempt by US to own the chicken before the hen hatches the egg has conspicuously caused a stain on its solidarity with its NATO member nation and "STEM POWER". Let Germany finds the vaccine and USA submits the root cause analysis of the origin of covid 19 in China.
Think bout it (Fl)
"the drugs manufactured by Cuba, Interferon B, has managed to effectively cure more than 1,500 patients from the coronavirus and is one of 30 drugs chosen by the Chinese National Health Commission to combat respiratory disease." "He said the drug could also be exported to other countries to help contain the spread of the virus and treat those that are showing symptoms." There you have it...... Sad that the U.S. trade embargo with Cuba remains in place.....
NR (New York)
@Think bout it, the US has interferon B drugs too. They're not exclusive to Cuba.
Think bout it (Fl)
@NR and why they haven't use it????? If it has worked in China?
Tom osterman (Cincinnati zOhio)
Wonderful:  Seventry five years ago we rebuilt Germany after WWII and now we are willing to pay enormous sums to a German research firm for their research work on the Coronavirus. This should remind the American people of the two things that have never happened in our history.  The first is the Coronavirus itself which has achieved nearly total isolation of our country with schools closed to 32 million kids, closing  bars and restaurants, ending all sports and cultural events.  The second thing that has never happened before is that our president and  vice president before it became obvious to millions that when the Coronavirus first appeared and our president and vice present proclaimed it irrelevant, it marked the first time in our history that the two  men elected to lead our country became irrelevant themselves. It is the one thing the president has feared all his life, namely, that he would become irrelevant. What man or woman during a great crisis and threat to the country would take the time to tweet about an opponent like Joe Biden nasty and unworthy comments.  Why did tney not come forward instantly and instead of pooh lpoohing this  crisis, ask the Admiral  in charge of public heath, the CDC and Dr.Fauci, and all the other interconnected health care entities to take over and save the U.S. The president and vice-presodent should remove themselves from this crisis before they muck it up further and turn it over completely to the professionals.
historyRepeated (Massachusetts)
Let's flip this around a little. What if the German government were in possession of a vaccine and declined to share it with anyone? How would Trump react? How would the rest of the world react? Now if the US were in possession of the vaccine and declined to share it, how do you think our (now former) friends and adversaries would react? The fact that "only for the United States" was even contemplated or mentioned is seriously concerning. America is unable to stand alone, but it does thrive when it strives to lead and benefit the globe as a whole.
Sam (North Kingstown, RI)
Trump only sees things in terms of money. He thinks if he just waves enough money at it, it's his for the taking. Sadly it's worked for him in the past and he can't see beyond his own dysfunctional experiences to understand the inherent wrongness in what he does.
Bob Albin (Lewisburg Pa)
@Sam Let's bear in mind that he throws the promise of money around. Whether or not he actually delivers on that promise is another thing. His word often means little in (the art of) the deal.
Rmayer (Cincinnati)
This demonstrates how the Trump GOP plutocrats think and act. If there is progress being made in another research facility, elsewhere in the world, do you seek to cooperate and share results or strong arm them into selling out with big money? In Trump world, everything can be bought and sold. Get what you want via a monetary transaction; no consideration given to any other approach. Has this helped or hindered the ongoing work to develop an efficacious vaccine? Another wrench in the works via Trump misfeasance and malfeasance.
rs (earth)
Well if Trump thought trying to buy Greenland was a reasonable idea then why should we be surprised by this?
Lev (ca)
But isn’t this what a capitalist ideology would suggest? Buying, or ‘deal making’ is the current administration’s tool of choice, whether it is propping up favoured industries like oil or coal, border control, coercing poorer countries, selling tons of unnecessary weapons, why would this pandemic be handled any differently? And why put someone with at least a scientific background in charge, rather than puppet Pence?
Stephen Nobel (Wilsall MT)
Follow the money. Where is Daniel Menichella?
Marat (Solingen)
My impression is that the story is being exaggerated because, in addition to the investor Hopp, it offers a rare opportunity for representatives of the German government to present themselves as defenders of national German interests. It may sound strange to Americans, but as a geographically and economically central region of Europe, this is hardly possible for German politicians on other occasions. It is also striking that the story was launched almost exclusively by a newspaper that stands for crystal-clear transatlantic alliance loyalty like hardly any other German medium. It seems to me that the person who spread the information about Trump's alleged plans wanted to do two things at once: divulge the information, but entrust its distribution to a strongly US-friendly medium. Perhaps more worrying for American readers is that a takeover bid from the Chinese side might have attracted much less protest. Mr Xi is much less unpopular in Germany than Mr Trump. Ceterum censeo: I wish there were more employees in the US federal administration with the backbone of a Frances Oldham Kelsey, CM.
Stealth (Ontario Canada)
@Marat You make a lot of claims, like "Perhaps more worrying for American readers is that a takeover bid from the Chinese side might have attracted much less protest. Mr Xi is much less unpopular in Germany than Mr Trump." But you don't provide and backup for them.
Katrin (Wisconsin)
@Marat My guess is that Trump made the "billion dollar" offer in an off-the-cuff way, sort of like when he suggested the US should buy Greenland. For others reading this reply, the 80% owner of CureVac, Dietmar Hopp, will not make a deal like this and has said that treatments and cures should benefit all.
Dana (San Francisco)
What should have happened is Trump offering an investment of funds into the research with the idea this possible breakthrough would help the US and world. Instead, he wants to buy the company. But the man cannot be trusted. He breaks everything.
Harriet (Brooklyn)
@Dana This past week, he seems to be in pure panic, and is becoming not just incompetent but seriously dangerous. Eventually the coronavirus pandemic will end. The damage left behind by these ill-conceived moves he has made will last a lot longer.
sandy (charlottesville, va)
This should be a much bigger story. Americans should understand how their government, in an attempt to gain credit for success in fighting the virus and to force one of their lies to come true, have tried but failed to bully a foreign company into selling their work. No one could blame the world for assuming the US would then hoard the knowledge and vaccines that resulted. This will (and should!) cause the rest of the world to hate the US even more. At a time when we depend upon other countries for drug supplies, food, and even the makings of our beloved phones, a move like this could cause the US much harm. Thanks, Trump and cronies.
Bill (Madison, Ct)
@sandy They'd make the rest of the world py dearly for any vaccines and trump would use it to bully the other countries.
MN Student (Minnesota)
@sandy Agreed. This is a pretty well tugged away report at the bottom of the fold's fold.
S Butler (New Mexico)
The company is likely to be subjected to cyberattacks to steal their research into the coronavirus. The United States and every other country with the capability will try to steal their research. If Russia gets hold of their research Putin will likely hold the world at ransom for the vaccine. It would not be a surprise if he furnished it exclusively to Russia and just let the rest of the world die. We could end up at war over this.
Paco varela (Switzerland)
@S Butler C’mon, Putin is a toxic dictator but it was the trump administration that attempted this gambit.
S Butler (New Mexico)
@Paco varela I'm sure Trump wanted to buy the company in order to profit from the coronavirus pandemic, but Putin wants it to control the world.
Liz (Chicago, IL)
I read about breakthroughs in several places around the world. A coalition of the University of Texas, Leibniz Institute for Primate Research and the Ghent Center of medical biotechnology have already developed an antidote that can kill the virus under lab conditions. Buying and restricting the most advanced research would delay a solution to those excluded, but not for long.
Nina (US)
another mark of shame for the selfishness of this country's current administration
The Widster (Cascadia)
Big Bully Trump tried to steal their sandwich. It’s what bullies do.
Marie (Boston)
@The Widster More like what a crime boss does. Or one used to industrial shenanigans.
Helene St-Jacques (Brossard qc)
Trump at his best: unprepared, uninformed, complacent, greedy and totally selfish Deplorable,said Hillary? It’s now as never for all to see!
LIChef (East Coast)
During my travels overseas in recent years, I have spent a decent amount of time apologizing to the locals since my country saw fit to put such a sorry excuse for a human being into the Oval Office. I apologize once again after reading this story. Yes, I agree with those commenters who believe Trump is trying to buy the vaccine to protect himself and his own family at the expense of others. Nothing about the man should surprise us any more. If we, as Americans, put him back into office this fall, we condone such vile behavior.
mjpezzi (orlando)
@LIChef --- The worst was Republican President George W. Bush, who invaded IRAQ that had zero to do with 9/11 attacks. My European relatives and friends were glad to hear that "HE" was not someone that I voted for or considered a good POTUS. We were all hopeful that Senator Bernie Sanders would become the next POTUS, because Hillary Clinton was known to be the Wall Street banksters' choice and is a known war hawk. Really there was not a good choice in the "lesser of two evils" category. Biden (at least) might be more progressive-persuadable in taking up economic and healthcare reform. Only time will tell. I hope that in my lifetime, I will see universal health care for our people. It would eliminate a lot of stress people face when they are at the mercy of global insurance corporations when they are sick or injured or trying to save the life of a child. It's really unbelievable the way the USA supports a form of Corporate Socialism via the huge amounts of money poured directly into our "two major political parties" and individual lawmaker's campaign chests.
Jamie Ballenger (Charlottesville, VA)
Sure...He will share with the world...for a price. This is Trump and the Republican Party we talking about now. Just like with the US military, DJT wonders, 'how can we turn a profit with this virus?!' Pax, jb
Susan DOTEN (Tacoma, Washington)
The Germans are right to be worried, Trump has shown no compassion and I would suspect hold the world at ransom for the drugs.
Hopplah (Germany)
This is SO selfish, SO infuriating, So wrong ! If you voted for Trump once: Hey, we all make mistakes. If you'll vote for him twice: When everything is for sale, so is your soul !
Deb (USA)
Of course the US would share any vaccine. You know at $10,000 a shot.
Ignatz (Upper Ruralia)
@Deb Available exclusively thru the newly formed Small Business: "Jared's Just-in-Time Vaccine Company"... Out motto: Bigly enough to protect YOU ( for a price) and small enough to still qualify for any SBA Lo-Interest loans! MAGA!"
David Henry (Concord)
The most serious presidential crime in our history. Every person involved must be prosecuted. Profiteering as people die.
SkepticaL (Chicago)
If it’s true that Trump made a money offer for “exclusive” U.S. control and exploitation of CureVac’s coronavirus vaccine research, it testifies to the utter amorality of the man. Is Donnie of a mind to weaponize a vaccine to protect Americans at the expense of countries in the world that he doesn’t like?
svenbi (NY)
What did anybody expect? The clear evidence we are behind in testing is same reason: the test Germany developed is used and was recommended by the WHO. The only administration of an infected country refusing to use this $ 160,00 test was, excactly, ours! Why? Simple: somebody saw there is a bigger margin to be had when you can charge for a faulty domestic version $ 3000,00! Somebody should investigate this botched attempt to have tests made here, instead of using what would have been available right away. Critical time (and lives) were lost because of it. And now this, just disgusting.
The Frugal One (Germany)
@svenbi: to be precise, the $160 are actually the cost of a laboratory kit, which is enough to do about 100 individual tests. To do that, you have to provide the labor plus some additional (more basic) chemicals. But still, you can understand why most countries will do these tests for free.
JP (MorroBay)
Trump and 'his people' just can't help themselves from doing the wrong thing. Cheating and lying comes to them as naturally as breathing. And they don't see anything wrong with their behavior when confronted, in fact they're outraged that anyone would question it or call them out for the criminal offenses. What a poor excuse for a country we've become.
rlkinny (New York)
This is Trump's idea of "Making America Great Again"? A con man negotiating with another con man.
val (Austria)
Support the US science and scientists. They would appreciate it.
HTS (Copenhagen)
Trump proves that he will always, always, always find a way to sink lower than one would have thought possible. November couldn't come soon enough.
TorSta (Germany)
The owner of the foundation that owns 80 % of that company is also a billionaire. And he is a guy with values, integrity and morality, see the difference. He promised that in case they are successfull in finding the vaccine, it's for the world. I sure hope that the world will remember that creepy offer when the virus is survived.
LL (CA)
I am so sorry, Germany. I’m ashamed of my country. All Trump cares about is getting credit for this vaccine. Keep it safe and release it to the world if you are the first.
Tom A (St, Louis)
...and I find it more difficult to look into the eyes of the world.
Dana (Queens, NY)
When the Trump Administration states that they will share Covid-19 technology with the world, they are no doubt saying America First, the rest of you get in line. I have no doubt that vaccine produced in this country will not be made available to other countries until America's needs are fully met.
NowCHare (Charlotte NC)
Capitalism has limits? What?! Well, not in this country where spineless immoral republicans rule.
Paul (Groesbeck, Texas)
Where is the discussion about the thousands of excellent scientists in our national laboratories like NIH, and NIEHS?
Bill (A Native New Yorker)
Why is it so believable that the President is working a financial/political angle in the midst of a national health crisis? Because he is simultaneously floating a full pardon of Flynn to test the waters on pardoning his fellow collaborators for selling an American Presidential election. No wonder he pardoned Rod Blagojevich for selling Obama's Senate seat.
passer-by (Europe)
This is a scandal that has really shocked the Germans. But Americans have spent years saying that the reason their healthcare system costs so much is because they are the one inventing all the medicine that the others profit from. Why would they need Swiss tests and German vaccines now?
Bob Hagan (Brooklyn, NY)
Thinking about how to even categorize this. Act of war? It appears the Germans think so and are treating protecting the company from takeover as a national security issue. How do you deal with a one person war? Single combat? Angela vs Donnie! Dueling pistols on Fifth Avenue! Biggest Ratings ever!
Jacques (New York)
Hard to believe a world leader being so callous and thoughtless.. and so lacking in real self-awareness. Trump's kind of self-awareness is truly imaginary.. the kind where reality never intrudes....
Chris (Germany)
The last tiny bit of trust in a former ally is gone. So sad.
Terry (ct)
When Jonas Salk developed the vaccine that ended the terrible scourge of polio, he was asked who owned the patent. His reply: "Well, the people, I would say. There is no patent. Can you patent the sun?" Contrast that with the attitude of the current administration, whose primary interest is in using taxpayer dollars to secure a lucrative monopoly for its cronies.
Halboro (Cleveland)
"raising fears in Berlin that President Trump was trying to assure that any inoculation would be available first, and perhaps exclusively, in the United States." Indeed, as the article states, early reports did seem to indicate that Trump was looking for exclusive American access. I don't buy our administration's denial. Frankly, just the fact that it seems possible, even likely, is an embarrassment. I am, perhaps perversely, reminded of Jonas Salk, who developed one of the first successful Polio vaccines. He could have made billions but plainly stated that the vaccine belonged to the people. As if Trump's speech on Wednesday, showing zero empathy for the rest of the world while gloating about how much better America is supposedly faring, was not bad enough; now we have this report. This is a shameful day for the United States. I did not vote for this man, but I live in a nation that allowed his rise to power.
kirk (kentucky)
Has the Trump administration's intervention and distraction slowed down the development of a vaccine? Forcing a company to change leaders in the middle of a pandemic can't be a good thing. The world needs protection from MAGA. And so dose our country.
Rob (London)
For the sake of the world, I sincerely hope that any country other than the US develops a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. Quite simply, the US can’t be trusted to not profiteer from such an important development.
Klaus Steinweg (Dortmund, Germany)
With such kind of friends, who needs enemies? I would assume that those officials from the German government who intercepted this deal, gave a polite hint to the owners and management of CureVac: The German constitution allows a takeover of companies by the federal state, if deemed essential for the national interest. I don't know whether this clause of the Constitution has ever been applied. But it's there, people know about it, and this would have been a prime example for making use of it.
PaulM (Ridgecrest Ca)
Another "perfect phone call.?" It would be valuable to know whose money was on the table? Taxpayer dollars , or was the Trump administration representing private investors who would own and exploit the vaccine?
Anxious Anonymous (Nyc)
Another desperate 2020 attempt. Vaccine before November. And his evangelical base would say God was just testing us and now has delivered a miracle and Trump is indeed his messenger! Amen!
Ann (Canada)
Anyone who thinks he would share the vaccine with another country is dreaming. What a great re-election ploy "I looked after Americans first by hoarding a life-saving vaccine for our use" And guaranteed there is money in this deal for him, his family and his wealthy greedy friends. No morals and no shame.
Ann (Canada)
Anyone who thinks he would share the vaccine with another country is dreaming. What a great re-election ploy "I looked after Americans first by hoarding a life-saving vaccine for our use" And guaranteed there is money in this deal for him, his family and his wealthy greedy friends. No morals and no shame.
Coyote Old Man (Germany)
So President Fearless Leader thinks he can buy his way out of what his lack of leadership has created in the US. Let someone else do the work, then take full credit.
Anne (CA)
You can't listen to Trump's pronouncements. WWTD? Trump is not the US. If he is offering 'Large Sum’ money, it's our money. Not Trump's, not big pharma's
Bach (Grand Rapids, MI)
Just another example showing that if Trump can’t bully compliance, he’ll try to buy it. Here is the logical result of Trump’s zero-sum, the whole world is one big transaction view. Hey, Trump supporters, are you happy with Donald’s craven attempt to jump to the front of the vaccine line. Time for the 25th Amendment. We can’t wait until November..
Dra (Md)
I’m not surprised the trump administration would attempt bribery to achieve its goals. Btw the stock market should be closed immediately.
Joe D (NC)
The only thing that Trump and the Republicans care about are the stock markets and shareholders. The rest do not matter. This is the unacceptable dark belly of capitalism.
tk (Canada)
In 1923 the Canadians involved in the discovery of insulin sold their US patent to the University of Toronto for $1. Banting/Best/Collip did not want to profit off a discovery which saved lives. Frederick Banting stated: "Insulin belongs to the world not to me" Just when you think Donald Trump can go no lower he exceeds expectations. It isn't an exaggeration to term his actions a crime against humanity.
charles almon (brooklyn NYC)
Being reported the Kushner family and the lower profile Josh, and one his companies, also sought to profit.
Rick (NYC)
@charles almon I read somewhere Josh was meant to be the "nice one". I suppose, when you're coming off a low base like Jared... anyone can seem nice
Kat Perkins (Silicon Valley)
If a US company developed a vaccine, I'm sure Trump would love to share it with the rest of the world for an exorbitant price. And you can bet everyone in his administration would attempt to own stock in that company. Let's leave management of a Covid-19 vaccine to competent, non-predatory adults.
Not 99pct (NY, NY)
Give me a break, what fear mongering. Does anyone really think the US would hoard vaccine patents from allies?
Baxter (NYC)
@Not 99pct what allies? Since trump has been in office we no longer have allies. We have former allies that no longer trust us.
Crabapple (Shenandoah Valley)
Yes. I do. Because there’s ample probable character and previous conduct evidence that he would.
Rob (London)
@Not 99pct Actually, sadly yes, the allies do fear that very possibility.
Jim (Atlanta)
So this is what happens when you cut consistently cut educational funding and CDC dollars and then wonder why we’re not leading the world in coming up with a solution.
Barbara8101 (Philadelphia PA)
Apparently I am the only person who remembers the Swine Flu vaccine era in the 1970s. Swine Flu was different from our current situation, of course, because it never showed up. It’s possible that this was due to the mass vaccinations program, but I doubt it. In any event, the vaccine caused Guillain-Barré syndrome in a small but significant percentage of recipients. But before the vaccine was made available, the federal government enacted legislation protecting the drug companies from any liability for side effects. Indeed, I think that the drug companies made such laws a condition of making the vaccine available. At the time, consumer protection was in the forefront and there was a possibility of liability. That is less the case now, when Pharma defendants tend to win all the time, but I bet that the drug companies will demand even stronger immunity legislation before anyone gets near a vaccine. Perhaps in our current climate that would be a good idea. I am very much a pro-vaccination person. But it is well to remember that untested and untried vaccines can come with a cost. We are not talking about time-tested and reliable vaccines here; we are talking about rushed and ad hoc ones.
Diane M. (Sterling Hts., MI)
Just when you think this administration can't sink lower on the moral scale they manage to do just that. Disgusting. Kudos to Germany for putting their foot down.
peter (ny)
@Diane M. Hypothetical Exercise: If Trump could have bought 3 vials of immunization, after himself, who would have gotten the other two? Bonus question: How much would he have charged his family members for them?
Cynical (Knoxville, TN)
@peter For himself and his heart-throb, his daughter. The last one would be sold to the highest bidder.
Janak (Cincinnati)
@peter Ez answer: He'd keep the other 2 for when he gets it again.
Mark (Ca)
Disgusting predatory behavior. Good on the Germans for not succumbing to the ethics of the New York Mafia in the midst of an international crisis that requires cooperation between countries.
Peggy Rogers (PA)
I ate dinner Saturday night at the home of a generous and kind senior - still seemingly healthy - who said she'd like to see him die of this. Not me, I couldn't go that far. I want to see him suffer, and for that we only need vote the monster out of office, if we actually have an election.
jh (dc)
@Mark Yew York helped make this man by allowing Himself and their family to do whatever they pleased. Who was asleep at the wheel when trump was building his evil portfolio ?
Usok (Houston)
Maybe he should raise the price to two billion dollars to buy the private firm. I am glad that NY Times reports this. Just how low can our government go. Instead of working with the German government, consulting on the vaccine licensing issues, we try to grab it for our own under the table. Trump is running out of magics to win his re-election. Covid-19 will doom his second bit. But if he succeed to beat the virus, he will win again. And the only experienced fighter against the disease lies in the east.
Nancy (Philadelphia)
I hope the Germans stand strong. Capitalism DOES have its limits. Trump can’t use taxpayer’s money to buy his way into another 4 years. German taxpayers have the right to have a German company (which they subsidize), develop a vaccine. They will share any info I have no doubt, when it is developed.
David Kannas (Seattle, WA)
The sad thing is that even if this isn't true, it is completely believable given what we know about Trump. He knows nothing about what it is to be fully human.
Dra (Md)
@David Kannas who’s more likely to lie: the Germans or trump?
Perverse (Cincinnati)
Rhetorical question, right!
M Davis (USA)
A global pandemic will only be stopped by global efforts. Trump's selfish actions will have long-term results in the world's (lack of) regard for the USA.
j24 (CT)
More like, Trump planned to move profits from German Research to a firm that would further enrich him and his friends.
charles almon (brooklyn NYC)
@j24 __Josh Kushner and some college buddies own such a firm. It's lost over $100 Million last year. Hmmmm?
Pat (Los Angeles)
You can be sure that when Trump tried to get exclusive control of this vaccine, he was seeking both political glory and personal enrichment.
Beth (Tucson)
This is what happens when our leader does not understand science or listen to trained medical experts. If a pandemic is not cured around the world the US will keep getting infected. Vaccines are not 100%. The recent flu vaccine was 45% effective. We need to work with every country to eradicate Coronavirus.
DDP (Fort Wayne, IN)
Another example of Trump reaping what he has sown. From his inauguration "America First!" declaration through countless short-sighted and ill-conceived actions by this administration, all occurring within a highly political and erratic environment, is it any wonder that those who used to be our closest friends and allies are so distrustful. The coronavirus pandemic is a stark illustration of why a world view is in all nations' self-interest, and how we are failing as a nation to be the leader we should be.
Fish (New York City)
Chickens coming home to corona.
Dennis (Dallas)
America First! Now we know how THAT turns out!
marsh watcher (Savannah,GA)
"Sir do you have no common decency?" And the answer is a resounding "NO"
George S (New York, NY)
@marsh watcher The only part of that question Trump would like is “sir”! Sigh.
ms (Midwest)
@marsh watcher Not just "NO", but "I DON'T CARE, DO YOU?"
Jac (Earth)
@marsh watcher Here's to hoping the country finally recognizes the new, even more dangerous McCarthy in our midst
JG (DE)
Another reason for all of our former allies to despise us. Worst president in US History.
Dirigo (Canada)
@JG not merely the worst. also the most destructive.
David Henry (Concord)
Just when you thought it impossible, Trump does something worse than the Ukraine bribery attempt. This is impeachable by any standard. Democrats must investigate this.
Mark (Ca)
@David Henry Unfortunately, disgusting as it is, the legal basis for impeachment resulting in removal from office may not be there. One would have to find a way of demonstrating high crimes and misdemeanors in this clearly revolting behavior. Mere unfitness for office and immorality are not offenses that would necessarily call forth removal from office in a Senate trial. Impeachment on the same kind of grounds that Bill Clinton was impeached could probably pass the House, but to achieve what? This general immorality and unfitness to govern needs to be resolved at the ballot box, but latest polls still give him a 48% confidence rating for his management of this crisis. The voters are the fundamental problem getting to a solution, and in a democracy this is decisive. Even Article 25 is too restrictive to trigger removal from office for revolting behavior. We are stuck with him and his crew of incompetent, fawning and gawking henchmen until November, unless Congress votes to amend the constitution allowing the election to be postponed because of this crisis.
Can we please get a rel candidate? (St. Croix, US Virgin Islands)
@David Henry There were dozens of impeachable offenses in the Mueller report and yet no impeachment. The Teflon Man lives, only not as a man.
Marymary28 (Sunnyside NY)
@David Henry the senate will give him a pass
Sally (Saint Louis)
Gee, and I thought we were all about America first and alone. Thought trump knew all the best people --turns out they are German people. And for those diehard trump supporters, please read Mr. Leonhardt's column and see how great your dear leader is.
mjw (DC)
It's amazing how one of the world's most powerful people can't operate without bribery, coercion and extortion. He hasn't any clue of how to cooperate, coordinate or share like a Christian should, even with allies, even with a major medical crisis. The most immoral, selfish President in history, and they want to reelect him!
Gulfport (FL)
@mjw Trump is not a powerful person, the job title is, when used properly. Big difference.
PJTramdack (New Castle, PA)
@Gulfport Right; and keep in mind, the office of the president of the United States deserves respect. The individual occupying the office gets the respect they deserve.
Can we please get a rel candidate? (St. Croix, US Virgin Islands)
@Gulfport Huge difference. And there is some question as to the "person" characterization.
Jo (Right here Right now)
Trump & Co know no shame. We all knew this but he continues to plumb the depths of depravity daily. God help us, election day can't come fast enough.
MK (BRooklyn)
Will his supporters remember his infamy on Election Day? Hopefully his terrible handling of this corona virus will be remembered by all the states, red and blue, and send him and his cohorts into the cold with their ill-gotten games. We will still have to endure the faithful judges he appointed to carry out his mission and try to restore our democracy. He has promised his faithful who refused to answer to appear before Congress and now his reaching out to pardon Flynn they know all actions against our legal system put into place by our constitution do not apply to his loyalists. Trump and McConnell must be defeated strongly by all the American voters.
A. Gideon (Montclair, NJ)
@MK "Will his supporters remember his infamy on Election Day? " Will they even see it as an "infamy"? Or will it be another sign that he exercises the bully's right on their behalf? ...Andrew
Kat (Decatur)
Trump must be terribly sad he wasn’t able to purchase Greenland. I’m sure he’d feel safer there from Coronapocalypse. It’s a close second to trying to bribe, I mean buy, research from other countries.
peter (ny)
@Kat Hypothetical Exercise: If he could have bought 3 vials of immunization, after himself, who would have gotten the other two? Bonus question: How much would he have charged his family members for them?
Nina (US)
can't you just picture a wall being built around Greenland (one that bears Trump's name in gold), with a sign that says "go Trump, or be gone"?
Tom (Holly Springs, NC)
At a time when it's critical for the world to work together, Trump is consumed by his narcissistic "America First- and only- agenda. To the world; our apologies.
Karen (NY)
We alienate our allies under Trump; this takes it to another level. Ugh.
Monsignor_Tequila (Montana)
This is why we are loved throughout the world. Trump expects to do nothing and buy his way out of everything.
Marymary28 (Sunnyside NY)
@Monsignor_Tequila he buys his way out with our tax money and gets the financial benefit
Katrin (Wisconsin)
The current administration is not considered by other nations to be honest or trustworthy. Let that sink in.
John (Canada)
@Katrin Agree. -Canada.
Not Again (Fly Over Country)
The man can only see dollar signs. No $, no value.
Perverse (Cincinnati)
The European media has been reporting that Trump’s attempt to buy a German vaccine manufacturer is to produce vaccine exclusively for the United States. My big question, if Trump is able to buy this vaccine, who will be responsible for distribution, Kushner? Pence? Plus will this be available only to those who can pay? Will they only give the vaccine to registered Republicans? Afterall, by attempting to buy exclusive rights to a vaccine for America First (and only), Trump is wants to ignore the other 6 billion people on this planet. And of course “illegal aliens” will not be able to obtain this vaccine (or medical care if ill). I bet that Trump, believes that Salk and Sabin were suckers for not patenting polio vaccines and allowing free worldwide distribution of the vaccine. It took me a while but I figured out Trumps' game. If only the US is vaccinated, visitors to the US would need to prove that they are immune (ie, vaccinated or recovered). Those who are not, will be required to spend 14 days in self-quarantine. This quarantine will be made exclusively at various Trump Hotels where these people would be charged premium prices for that period. Those who are not able to pay for the 14 days will not be issued US visas.
Ann (Boston)
@Perverse Actually I'd be glad to see him as the first test subject - well before any vaccine is found safe.
Steve Griffith (Oakland, CA)
After Trump has spent the better part of three years blustering, braying and insulting Germany, one of our closest allies, suddenly, just like a bully, he wants to “let bygones be bygones” and, in essence, steal their labors for himself. I don’t know what the German equivalent of “fold it five ways, and put it where the sun don’t shine” is, but Angela Merkel and Germany would certainly be well within their rights to employ it right about now.
Alex (Germany)
we mostly just use the latter part of the „saying“ but make it more explicit.
Fer (Here)
Really? Only for the USA? Crossing fingers for the collapse of other countries? This is wild.
Steve Projan (Nyack NY)
Having worked in the infectious disease field for forty years anyone who expresses confidence that a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine can be developed in a year is a fool. The search for a vaccine for TB has been going on for over a century. After thirty years we still aren’t close to a vaccine for HIV, not from any lack of effort or resources. And the saddest five words, oft repeated after failed clinical trials are: “But it worked in mice”.
Katrin (Wisconsin)
@Steve Projan Curevac has been working on Coronavirus strains since 2005. Maybe they really are close to a breakthrough. Let’s hope so.
skizziks (Ottawa)
A Canadian doctor named Frederick Banting discovered insulin. He did not patent the product, nor try to make any money from his discovery, he intended that it be provided as cheaply as possible to diabetics. Yet, today in America, big pharma is charging ten times as much for insulin, as any other country in the world. They know that some people will have to ration it, or do without, and may get sicker, or even die. But they don't care.
Jacquie (Iowa)
@skizziks Big Pharma doesn't care about health care or people only the bottom line and filling their pockets with gold after using taxpayer-funded research to develop their products.
M Davis (USA)
@skizziks Big Pharma profiteers often take an old drug, tweak it just enough to get a new patent. This is what happened with OxyContin, insulin and a bunch of others. The industry has long cited research and development as an excuse for price gouging but most new research is conducted at universities, heavily funded by government grants and charitable foundations.
ez (USA)
@skizziks The Bantling insulin was a product extracted from animals and not all that expensive to produce, Today insulin is a biologic which is expensive to develop and set up to produce. However, once the initial costs have been recouped it can be produced and sold for less. That is why insulin costs far less in Canada and other countries tjan in the USA - big pharma owns the USA congress.
Mtkailas (USA)
Why did Menichella depart? Because he hyped the vaccine timeline as bad as Trump did. "Vaccine in a few months"?? That is irresponsible, because it ignores safety testing, clinical trials, etc.
Remember (the Storozhevoy)
@Mtkailas Very true. There are a few other companies making wild claims. It takes years, not months.
Michael Freeland (Fond du Lac, WI)
@Remember I would agree but suspect that, with unlimited resources thrown at it, expedited approvals, and with no difficulty finding patients to enroll in the human phases of the studies necessary for approval, that the vaccine for COVID-19 might be developed faster than the history of other vaccines might suggest; however, months to a year is a pipe dream.
David M (Chicago)
@Remember. How can it take years? We get a new flu vaccine every year for the strains likely to be most prevalent. The H1N1 flu was first reported in April 2009 and they were shipping vaccine by Nov. 2009.
Some Professor (ATX)
Trump is disgusting. The selfish pursuit of his own re-election is his only cause.
V (CA)
@Some Professor Trump & family think money will buy people like money buys them.
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