The former president is doubling down on his biggest achievement
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.”
WATCH: Trump tells Bill O’Reilly he received a booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, touts vaccine development under his ‘Operation Warp Speed.’
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) December 20, 2021
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.