Donald Trump is trying on a new tactic: Acknowledging that COVID-19 is a real thing and that getting vaccinated and boostered is the best way to avoid dying from a virus that has already killed more than 5.5 million people worldwide. And now he’s even going so far as to call out Republican lawmakers who refuse to reveal their personal vaccination statuses.
The former president’s first brush with COVID truth-telling wasn’t necessarily a positive experience: When he told the (small) crowd that had gathered to see him and Bill O’Reilly speak during their History Tour that he had received a COVID booster, Trump was loudly booed. While he attempted to downplay the hisses as coming from just a teensy weensy portion of the crowd, he was apparently so distraught over it that O’Reilly had to console him. But now that Trump has gotten a taste of what it’s like to live among those of us who recognize that we’re still in the midst of a pandemic, and even getting credit for his work in pushing the vaccines through so quickly, he seems to be liking it here. So much so that he actually criticized those lawmakers who refuse to say whether they’ve been vaccinated.
While being interviewed by OAN, Trump went fiercely pro-vax and called out Republican lawmakers like Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who are keeping their vaccine status a secret, saying:
“They don’t want to say it because they’re gutless. You gotta say it, whether you had it or not. Say it. But the fact is that I think the vaccines saved tens of millions throughout the world. I’ve had absolutely no side effects.”
While Trump didn’t mention DeSantis by name, NBC News reports that many think it was a clear swipe at the Florida Man, who many believe is preparing to make a run for president in 2024. When asked whether Trump’s new publicly pro-booster stance was aimed at DeSantis as a potential opponent, a senior Trump adviser claimed that the former president’s comments were just Donald being Donald.
TRUMP says “I've had the booster,” and says he’s seen politicians asked the same, but dodge.
“The answer is yes, but they don't want to say it. Because they're gutless… Whether you had it or not. Say it.”
"The vaccine has saved tens of millions of people throughout the world." pic.twitter.com/LgFHT6l180
— Tim Hogan (@timjhogan) January 12, 2022
“Actually, if you think about it, it plays to Trump’s strength and why voters were attracted to him to begin with—you may not like what he has to say, but he calls them like he sees them and doesn’t try to mince words like typical politicians,” the adviser told NBC News.
As for whether DeSantis might pose a threat to Trump’s attempt to reclaim the Oval Office, the same adviser simply said that it’s “Tough to be Trump 2.0 if you can’t be a straight shooter.”
(Via NBC News)