Donald Trump is pushing back once again on anti-COVID-19 vaccine rhetoric that has been championed by some of his supporters.
During a recent interview with conservative talk show host Candace Owens, Trump took credit for creating the three COVID vaccines that were mass produced during the last year of his administration in conjunction with Operation Warp Speed.
Owens asked the former president where he stood on the issue of vaccine mandates before Trump told her the vaccine “is one of the greatest achievements of mankind.”
“I came up with three vaccines — all are very very good — came up with three of them in less than nine months,” Trump said. “It was supposed to take five to 12 years.”
“And yet more people have died under COVID this year, by the way, under Joe Biden, than under you and more people took the vaccine this year,” Owens replied. “So people are questioning … “
“Oh no, the vaccine worked, but some people aren’t taking it,” Trump interrupted. “The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take the vaccine. But it’s still their choice. And if you take the vaccine, you’re protected. The results of the vaccine are very good. And if you do get [COVID], it’s a very minor form. People aren’t dying when they take the vaccine.”
Clips from the interview went viral on Twitter throughout the day on Thursday, making Owens a trending topic.
Trump has publicly encouraged his anti-vaccine supporters to get the shot several times this year while denouncing the pharmaceutical giants that manufactured them on at least one occasion.
In February, he told attendees at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando to “go get your shot.” In March, he told Fox News, “I would recommend [the vaccine] to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly.”
In April, he told the New York Post that the vaccine was, “a great thing, and people should take advantage of it.” In July, he told supporters at an Arizona rally, “I recommend you take it, but I also believe in your freedoms 100%.”
Some audience goers at a Dallas event booed Trump on Sunday when he told them he recently got a COVID booster shot.
“Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t, no, no. That’s — there’s a very tiny group over there,” Trump said in response.
The former president was diagnosed with COVID in October 2020 after repeatedly refused to wear a mask in public, according to NPR. He and former First Lady Melania Trump were vaccinated in April, according to The New York Times.
Owens later changed the conversation topic to mask mandates during her interview with Trump. “What about the masking of children?” she said. “That’s a big one for moms right now.”
“I think it’s a terrible thing,” the president replied. “I don’t like to see the kids with the masks on. They’re sitting in school. They have a hard enough time sitting in school.”
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