- Donald Trump was booed by supporters Saturday at a rally in Cullman, Alabama after encouraging them to get vaccinated against COVID-19
- He told the crowd: ‘I believe totally in your freedoms, I do, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. But I recommend that you take the vaccines’
- Analysts say that Trump’s promotion of the shot follows news that his allies wanted him to run on a pro-vaccination campaign
- In recent weeks he has touted the benefits of the vaccine, saying it has ‘been great for the world’
- The former president has also pushed for a return to normalcy, emphasizing that students need to be in the classroom
- Also during the rally, he claimed that Joe Biden gave the U.S. military away to the Taliban with the bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan
- Trump said that ‘our enemies are not afraid’ of President Biden and also defended his original negotiations with Taliban leaders
The former president was hosting a rally Save America rally in Cullman, Alabamawhen he touted the benefit of the shot, saying vaccines are ‘good’.
‘I believe totally in your freedoms, I do, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. But I recommend that you take the vaccines,’ Trump said to the crowd, who replied with jeers.
‘You’ve got your freedoms,’ he responded. ‘But I happened to take the vaccine.’
‘If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know. Ok?’ he said. ‘I’ll call up Alabama and say, ‘hey, you know what?’…But, it is working. But you do have your freedoms. You have to keep — you have to maintain that.’
He also reiterated that families ‘need to get [their] kids back to school’.
Similarly, Trump’s remarks were met with opposition on social media.
‘Anyone looking for the edge of Trumpism just found it: Trump recommends the #COVID19 vaccine to a massive Alabama rally crowd, only to get shouted down with boos from the audience. Not even Donald himself can get these folks on board with the vaccine,’ tweeted journalist Max Burns.
‘Well, I’m surprised he actually said that. Of course, it’s for selfish reasons. He needs their votes,’ Twitter user @ultmtpersister responded.
‘A lot of people fail to realize he doesn’t really lead them. They lead him. He just has no scruples and doesn’t mind playing to the least common denominator. They selectively ignore anything they didn’t already agree with,’ wrote Ryan Hill.
‘Trump advises Alabama audience to take the COVID vaccine, but says people should have the freedom to not do so if they choose. His approach is far more moral and less authoritarian than the people who claimed he’s an authoritarian for 4 years,’ Jon Miltimore tweeted.
Much like at the rally, Trump’s remarks were met with criticism on social media
Analysts say that Trump’s promotion of the shot follows news that his allies wanted him to run on a pro-vaccination campaign.
The Daily Beast reported that four individuals spoke to Trump about a pro-vaccine campaign and he had ‘shown little interest’ in associating his name to vaccination efforts.
Trump’s former top surrogate, Stephen Moore, has previously argued that the former president join Joe Biden in a national primetime address to encourage Americans to get the shot.
‘I think he would be well-advised to make a public statement and a speech [devoted to] really encouraging people to get vaccinated; I think it would influence people…It would be in his own political interest, as well as the nation’s interest,’ Moore told the news outlet.
Reportedly, those close to Trump claim the former president was ‘initially reluctant’ to promote the COVID-19 vaccine because he feared the move would be unpopular amongst his supporters and help Biden.
However, in recent weeks Trump has routinely praised the coronavirus vaccine and advocated for a return to normalcy.
Earlier this month he claimed the world could have seen 100 million deaths from COVID-19 if his administration hadn’t developed the vaccine.
‘I think if we didn’t come up during the Trump administration with the vaccine, you could have 100 million people dead just like you had in 1917,’ Trump said, comparing the current pandemic to the Spanish Flu.
He also argued that children need to return to the classrooms because school closures are leaving behind a ‘psychological scar’.
‘The schools have to open. These young people are losing a big part of their life and they’re not going to recover from it,’ Trump said two weeks ago, echoing a claim he has made time and time again.
However, while the former president has said he is very proud of the vaccine and that it ‘has been great for the world,’ he has also argued that he’s a ‘big fan of our freedoms’ and the Americans ‘have to make that choice for themselves’.