‘Confirming this bombshell story’: Trump’s botched attempt to hijack a German coronavirus vaccine

  • 03/16/2020 9:09 am ET John See
Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus

Source: Screenshot/NPR

The Trump administration’s ham-fisted approach to the coronavirus has taken a strange twist that threatens to further strain the relationship between Germany and the U.S. The mess was triggered by a reported attempt by the Trump administration to buy CureVac, a German drug manufacturer.

German newspaper Welt Am Sontag reports that the purchase of the company was an attempt to ensure the coronavirus vaccine would be exclusively for Americans.

The offer to buy the company reportedly stems from a March 2 White House coronavirus taskforce meeting attended by President Trump, Vice President Pence, and CureVac CEO Daniel Menichella. At the time, Menichella expressed confidence that his company could make fast progress on a vaccine.

In response to reports of the takeover attempt, Angela Merkel has scheduled an emergency meeting today to create a “German defense strategy” for the company, according to the New York Times.


Reuters reports that CureVac denies that it is for sale and its main investor says that any vaccine it produces would “help people not just regionally but in solidarity across the world.”

Meanwhile, CureVac CEO Menichella has a new title: ex-CEO. Less than two weeks after Menichella’s White House meeting, the company announced that he was leaving the company.

Trump’s interactions with the company have led to a scenario familiar to Americans: international tensions, emergency meetings, conflicting media reports, denials, and contradictions — the chaos that always seems to follow in Trump’s wake.

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