DeSantis viewed as target of Trump remark about ‘gutless’ politicians not admitting to receiving booster shots

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NEW YORK (AP) – Former President Donald Trump is slamming politicians who refuse to say whether he has received COVID-19 booster shots as “ruthless”.

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“You have to say it. Whether you had it or not, say it,” Trump said in an interview aired Tuesday night on the conservative One America News Network.

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Trump, who was incensed last month after supporters revealed he had received a booster shot, has become increasingly vocal in calling out those who have questioned the efficacy and safety of vaccines. It’s a change of currency for Trump as he eyes another race for the White House and faces potential competition from a long list of potential Republican challengers.

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,‘So whatever I’ve done, I’ve shot normal. And, you know, in the end, people have their personal decisions about what they want to do.’,

— Ron DeSantis, Republican governor of Florida, in an interview with Fox News

Even though vaccines were developed during the Trump administration, they are deeply unpopular with large segments of the Republican base, fueled by rampant propaganda. Trump, while in office, consistently downplayed the risk posed by COVID-19 and received his vaccine privately, even to help other members of his administration build confidence in the shots. was publicly vaccinated.

“Okay, I’ve got it. I’ve got a booster,” Trump said in the interview. “I saw some politicians were interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get a booster?’ … and they’re like, ‘Oh, oh,’ they’re answering it – like, in other words, the answer is ‘yes,’ but they don’t want to say it. Because they are pure. ,

Trump did not name names, and his spokesmen did not immediately respond to questions about which politicians he was referring to. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican Party often cited as a potential 2024 presidential contender, has declined to say whether he has received a booster.

“So everything I’ve done is shot normal. And, you know, that, at the end of the day, people have personal decisions about what they want to do,” DeSantis, the Fox News Channel host, said last month. Told Maria Bartiromo.

President Joe Biden touches the arm of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis while speaking during a briefing on the partial collapse of a waterfront condominium in Surfside, Fla., in July 2021.

AP/Susan Walsh

DeSantis’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

From the archives (July 2021): Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota takes aim at fellow Republicans to consider 2024 presidential bid

Several House Republicans, including Trump’s top aides, have also declined to disclose their vaccination status. Georgia Rep. Some people, like Marjorie Taylor Green, have been open about her refusal to get it.

By criticizing other politicians reluctant to disclose their vaccination status, Trump seeks to turn the shots into a political issue that allows him to promote his administration’s success in facilitating its development, while others are likely to see the 2024 The GOP hates to bother with candidates to create a contrast. Base.

In recent weeks, the highly contagious Omicron variant has sparked a record number of cases, overwhelmed hospitals and disrupted essential services due to staff shortages. The booster has been shown to significantly strengthen immune defenses against the variant, and the Biden White House has urged Americans to get the shots.

In an interview last month, Trump acknowledged that many of his supporters were taking a risk by not getting vaccinated, although he has repeatedly said he is against mandating shots.

“It was going to destroy the country more than what it is now. Take credit for it. Take credit for it. … don’t let them take it away. Don’t take it away from yourself,” he said during an appearance with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in December, when Trump first revealed he had received a booster and was booed by some in the crowd. it was done.

In an interview with conservative commentator Candace Owens, Trump stressed how well vaccines work to prevent hospitalizations and serious illness.

“Those who get very sick and go to the hospital don’t get their vaccine,” he told her. “People are not dying from getting their vaccine.”

From the archives (September 2021): Trump weighs in on vaccine booster shots: ‘I’ll see stuff later. I am not against it, but maybe it is not for me.

Owens, a longtime Trump supporter, later in interviews sought to undermine Trump’s support of vaccines by pointing to his age. He will turn 76 in June.

But Trump did not agree in the OAN interview. “The fact is that I think the vaccine has saved millions of people around the world. I have had absolutely no side effects,” he said. Still, he reiterated his opinion that young people, for whom the virus is severe, Complications are rare, should not be vaccinated, even though health officials have urged everyone who is eligible to receive the shots.

Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19 in October 2020, weeks before the presidential election, and received experimental monoclonal antibody treatment.

After leaving the White House for their post-presidential home base in Florida, it was revealed that he and former First Lady Melania Trump had been removed from the public eye, while several public figures, including then-presidential-elect, Joe Biden, were fired. was received. their vaccinations in public.

From the archives (July 2021): Biden on the Fourth of July: Getting vaccinated is ‘the most patriotic thing you can do’


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