Donald Trump has played a bizarre game with vaccinations. He wants credit for the shot being developed when he was in office. He also realizes that many of his hard-core supporters will not get inoculated no matter what.But over the last week or so, it seems like someone has gotten in Trump’s ear to convince him that there aren’t enough of his hard-core supporters. If he is to win the election again, he will need to appeal to people outside of his base.
This week, the former president has come out very strongly in favor of vaccines. During an interview with OAN, Trump tore into politicians who are pushing vaccine hesitancy like he used to do. The former president told Dan Ball, “Many politicians — I watched a couple of politicians be interviewed, and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get the booster?’ because they had the vaccine. And they’re all answering it like — in other words, the answer is yes, but they don’t want to say it because they’re gutless.”
“I was very proud of that achievement and I still am. I’m not going to give that up.”
Trump realizes the vaccines are popular with “a substantial number of people” and is taking credit for creating them despite how some of his supporters feel. pic.twitter.com/S8smVyPBYf
— PatriotTakes 🇺🇸 (@patriottakes) January 12, 2022
This is a drastic change for Trump. But the comments were also made for political reasons. The New York Times Maggie Haberman believes that this comment was directly aimed at Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Trump’s chief opponent for the 2024 nomination.
This would indicate Trump's "must tell the truth" message to me about the timing of his vaccine comments a few weeks ago were about DeSantis, who is increasingly under his skin https://t.co/0eTju9ka9p
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 12, 2022
Trump’s anti-vax stance never really made much sense anyway. His most ardent supporters will not be leaving him, regardless. And in order to win back suburban voters, the former president needs to be much less extreme. Time will tell if he can stay on message.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.