by Curt Mills
Friday, 24
December 2021
Analysis
10:15

Donald Trump is winning vaccine politics

The former president is doubling down on his biggest achievement
by Curt Mills

Take it from another man in exile.

“I’m trying to tell President Trump, run on your record,” former Fox News bigwig Bill O’Reilly said this week. “He’s going to run again, all right.”

The duo appeared together over the weekend at an unwieldy event in which the former president sparred with his own supporters over vaccine politics. After saying that he got the booster, a section of the audience can be heard booing Trump.

The Fox Host said that he explained to Trump that going big on vaccines was “good for him”. He added: “This is good that people see another side of you, not a political side. You told the truth. You believe in the vax. Your administration did it, and you should take credit for it.”

Another defrocked chum agrees. “Significant,” tweeted Piers Morgan. “Trump is becoming a very powerful, and very unlikely, voice in persuading America’s anti-vaxxers & vaccine sceptics to get jabbed. Most of them are his supporters”.

And the man himself tripled down in what could have been a soft-ball interview with millennial conservative pundit Candace Owens. “Yet more people have died under Covid this year,” Owens said to Trump. “By the way, under Joe Biden, than under you and more people took the vaccine this year. So people are questioning how-“

“Oh no,” Trump interjected. “The vaccines work.” He added his administration’s leadership was behind not one, but three vaccines — Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.

That Trump is looking to own this issue is the surest sign yet that he’s running in 2024. Vaccine politics will likely dominate the next two (at least) election cycles and the former President will be wanting to draw attention to arguably his biggest achievement in office.

But given that a decent chunk of Trump’s supporters are unvaccinated, why risk upsetting his base? Because anti-vaccine politics are actually dreadfully unpopular. In spite of a loud minority, 60% of Americans support vaccine mandates, to say nothing of the voluntary procedure (74% have been jabbed.) For Trump to attach himself to a fringe issue might be an easy way to bilk his supporters for donations, but it’s a terrible way to vault back into the White House.

Throughout his time out of office, Trump has stood firm on his vaccine record. Whenever the issue comes up, he has been willing to take the boos and jeers that come with it on the chin. Interestingly, the same cannot be said for the now Vice-President Kamala Harris, who famously remarked in 2020 that she wanted no part of a Donald Trump vaccine (Biden also raised doubts).

Add to that the fact that Trump could try to make the case his Covid record is actually stronger than Biden’s after a meandering 2021. The current president can’t even get enough tests out in time for Christmas while Trump got three vaccines made at warp speed. Looking ahead to 2024, it’s the former GOP president who seems to have the upper hand.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
26 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Warren T
Warren T
6 months ago

“220,000 Americans dead. You hear nothing else I say tonight, hear this. Anyone who… is responsible for that many deaths should not be President of the United States.” – Joe Biden
And now we have 800,000 dead. But pay no mind.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
6 months ago
Reply to  Warren T

Democrat equals Hypocrite. They’ve had centuries of practice!

J Bryant
J Bryant
6 months ago

Ok, this will be an unpopular opinion on Unherd but if Trump’s running in 2024 it’s bad news for the Republicans.
Trump was the man of the hour in 2016 but he now has too much baggage. People love him or hate him which means his ability to sway moderate voters is limited. He’ll split the Republican ticket and likely hand the Democratic candidate (whoever that will be) a victory. I wish he’d stay out and put his weight behind someone like DeSantis.

A Spetzari
A Spetzari
6 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Fair comment but I think he’s in with a shot. He’s sat on the side and had a think before starting to get involved again more and more.
If Biden had been average as most expected, I don’t think Trump would have bothered. But Biden (and Harris) have been pretty awful across the board and it doesn’t seem to be getting better anytime soon.
I think it might sway a few who until this year probably thought Trump was awful. Now the dust has settled and we’ve not been belt-fed story after story denouncing Trump, the balance is back in his favour.

Drahcir Nevarc
Drahcir Nevarc
6 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

I agree.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
5 months ago
Reply to  J Bryant

Trump will do what Trump will do, regardless of our opinion here, although I thought his interview with O’Reilly was very strong. If he’s meant to continue as Top Dog of the GOP then he will make it happen. As for the final count ? Democrats and Independents are practically in a self-loathing position with Biden and Harris. His numbers are terrible and she makes them half again worse. The Democrat talent bench is as empty as it was in 2016, and options are no better than with a second term run of moribund Biden and airhead Harris. Trump is new and improved, if you ask me. Provided he continues to show as vital as he looked in the interview, he has a strong chance in 2024.

Justin Clark
Justin Clark
5 months ago

…and people have had a chance to miss him. Someone isn’t really appreciated until they’re “gone”… As a Brit, I think Americans will want someone stronger than what they have…even if they don’t fully…like…the person.

Paul Davies
Paul Davies
6 months ago

I want to see Fauci and Dazhak in prison for the rest of their lives. They lied and continue to lie. They have contributed directly and indirectly to hundreds of thousands of deaths. How they live with themselves I cannot fathom. Sociopaths both.

Rob Britton
Rob Britton
6 months ago

It will be nice to have the adults back in charge.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
6 months ago

Sad that this article accepts the notion that Trump voters are anti-CoVjab. True that many R’s reject orders from on high and don’t buy into the fear game any longer. Gaining natural immunity now seems reasonable for those in decent health. Trump, bless his heart, was instrumental in birthing the vaccines and they once held great promise and still remain an achievement for new science. He can’t in conscience reject his baby despite obvious failure of the vaccine to deliver all the promised benefit.

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
5 months ago

I should add that I am quite ambivalent as to whether Trump should run in 2024. Yes, he saved us from Hillary Clinton, but his Administration was a shambles in many ways. He will be about 78 years old in 2024, and him running will crowd out several others who are the future–people like DeSantis, Cotton, maybe Hawley… An enormous amount of unjustified bile was poured on him, and he is a more divisive candidate than he should, by rights be. But it is what it is.

I would probbaly vote for him over any Democrat I can imagine being nominated, but if one of the other stands a good chance, I would rather see him as an elder of the Party, with influence and heading a constituenct that must be given its due, but maybe not the candidate and face of the Party.

Malcolm Knott
Malcolm Knott
6 months ago

How many people will die as a consequence of Kamala Harris and her like casting doubts on a ‘Trump vaccine.’ The woman is grossly irresponsible.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
5 months ago
Reply to  Malcolm Knott

Hmm. I hope Unherd commentators are being consistent here, rather than supporting anything associated with Trump and opposing anything with Biden or the Democrats on principle. Anti-vax sentiment is actually more of a Right wing phenomenon, although not entirely.

Sean Penley
Sean Penley
5 months ago

Not a bad article, but it could have used some clarification between anti-vaxxers and those who are concerned about the COVID vaccine, or simply consider it unnecessary for themselves because they are not among the groups at risk of death from the disease. For sure, I think the skeptics of the COVID vaccine are largely on the conservative side of the political spectrum.
However, the genuine anti-vaxxers, the kind most famous for their resistance to the MMR shots, were almost exclusively far left. That movement was only strong in the West Coast deep blue enclaves. It was for celebrities and the rich. And those areas, of course, were the ones that began experiencing measles outbreaks again a few years ago for this very reason.
Ironically, those same areas are now among the more militant for insisting everyone gets a COVID vaccine. So taking vaccines that have been in use for decades and that genuinely prevent stable diseases is bad, but insisting everyone must take a new one for a constantly mutating virus (they tend to do that, just as Gupta warned on these pages last year) that the shot doesn’t even really prevent is okay.

Kiat Huang
Kiat Huang
6 months ago

Where are the younger candidates and why is there a propensity in US politics, post Obama to push the older ones forward? Unless you are a complete loose canon like Trump who nevertheless may tow the party line, an almost senile president (like Biden), is the most manipulatable, The 4-5 year electoral cycles, the stress of the dynamics and complexity are simply better suited (I’d claim) to men and women at the top of their game. In the most complex, largest companies seldom would a septuagenarian be hired, who are generally way past their best and considerably older than the statutory retirement age. If not for their internal motivations and machinery, why would political parties go against this norm?

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
5 months ago
Reply to  Kiat Huang

Kiat you may be correct in a general assessment, however, think of the small handful of very elderly intellectuals,scientists, nobel laureates, professors emeritus, politicians, judges, of counsel, directors, think tankers, writers, social commentators., etc., who are highly influential in their fields until a very advanced age. If every decade of experience is more valuable than the next, then age becomes more of a number. To hedge the bet on an octogenarian, the Vice Presidential pick needs to be extremely strong. This is where Biden went very wrong, and where a Trump-DeSantis ticket could be very right.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
6 months ago

Tump or Biden, the choice between cheese or cheese.

Last edited 6 months ago by Andrew Crisp
Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Crisp

If so, Trump is Camembert, Biden is Velveeta.

Andrew Crisp
Andrew Crisp
6 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

LoL

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
6 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Moldy Velveeta.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
5 months ago
Reply to  Ray Zacek

Ha Ha ! Velveeta can’t mold. It has too much preservative.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
5 months ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

LOL ! I’ll take aged and tangy over preserved in salt.

Kiat Huang
Kiat Huang
6 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Crisp

An Edam and a Monterey Jack.

David Bell
David Bell
5 months ago
Reply to  Kiat Huang

Monterey Jack and Velveeta? Sadly, that’s about the best that the U.S can produce. European and British cheeses are incomparably better.

Gayle Rosenthal
Gayle Rosenthal
5 months ago
Reply to  Andrew Crisp

Served with a crisp !

Martin Johnson
Martin Johnson
5 months ago

The politics of this is simple: Trump’s Administration oversaw developing the vaccines, which created an important option for people who wanted it. He had nothing to do with the mandates, which started months after he was gone..