UNITED STATES NEWS

Trump slams politicians who won’t say they got booster shots

Jan 12, 2022, 7:00 PM | Updated: Jan 13, 2022, 5:24 am
FILE - Former President Donald Trump smiles as he pauses while speaking to supporters at a Turning ...

FILE - Former President Donald Trump smiles as he pauses while speaking to supporters at a Turning Point Action gathering in Phoenix, July 24, 2021. Trump is slamming politicians who refuse to say whether they’ve received COVID-19 booster shots, calling them “gutless.” In an interview with One America News Network on Tuesday night, he said unnamed politicians have been afraid to admit they got the booster shot. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump is slamming politicians who refuse to say whether they have received COVID-19 booster shots as “gutless.”

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

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

Even though the vaccines were developed during the Trump administration, they remain deeply unpopular with large segments of the Republican base, fueled in part by rampant disinformation. Trump, while in office, consistently downplayed the risk posed by COVID-19 and he received his vaccine privately, even as other members of his administration were inoculated in public to help boost confidence in the shots.

“Well, I’ve taken it. I’ve had the booster,” Trump said in the interview. “I watched a couple of politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get the booster?’ …. And they, ‘Oh, oh,’ they’re answering it — like in other words, the answer is ‘Yes,’ but they don’t want to say it. Because they’re gutless.”

Trump did not name names, and his spokespeople did not immediately respond to questions about which politicians he was referencing. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican Party who is often mentioned as a possible 2024 presidential contender, has notably declined to say whether he has received a booster.

“So I’ve done whatever I did, the normal shot. And, you know, that, at the end of the day, is people’s individual decisions about what they want to do,” DeSantis told Fox News Channel host Maria Bartiromo last month.

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

Many House Republicans, including top Trump allies, have also declined to disclose their vaccination status. Some such as Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are open about their refusal to get it.

By criticizing other politicians reluctant to disclose their vaccination status, Trump appears to be looking to turn the shots into a political issue that allows him to promote his administration’s success in facilitating their development while creating a contrast with other possible 2024 GOP candidates loath to upset the base.

In recent weeks, the highly contagious omicron variant has driven record case counts, overwhelmed hospitals and disrupted essential services because of staffing shortages. The booster has been shown to significantly bolster immune protection against the variant, and the Biden White House has urged Americans to take the shots.

In an interview last month, Trump seemed to acknowledge the risk many of his supporters were taking by not getting vaccinated, though he has repeatedly said he is against mandating the shots.

“This was going to ravage the country far beyond what it is right now. Take credit for it. Take credit for it. … Don’t let them take it away. Don’t take it away from ourselves,” he said in December during an appearance with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly when Trump first revealed he had received the booster and was booed by some in the crowd.

In an interview with conservative commentator Candace Owens, Trump stressed how well the vaccines work at preventing hospitalization and serious illness.

“The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take their vaccine,” he told her. “People aren’t dying when they take their vaccine.”

Owens, a longtime Trump supporter, later sought to undermine Trump’s support of the vaccines in the interview by pointing to his age, 75.

But in the OAN interview, Trump did not relent.

“The fact is that I think the vaccine has saved tens of millions of people throughout the world. I have had absolutely no side effects,” he said. Still, he repeated his opinion that young people, for whom serious complications for the virus are rare, should not be vaccinated, even though health officials have urged everyone who is eligible to get the shots.

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

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

United States News

FILE - Memorial items are shown on the sign of Oxford High School in Oxford, Mich., Wednesday, Dec....
Associated Press

Oxford High School reopening nearly 2 months after shooting

OXFORD, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan high school where four students were fatally shot in late November will reopen Monday for the first time since the attack. Oxford High School students have been attending classes at other buildings since Jan. 10. Four students were killed and six students and a teacher were injured during the […]
22 hours ago
FILE - This image from video shows Minneapolis police Officers Thomas Lane, left and J. Alexander K...
Associated Press

Trial to begin for cops accused of violating Floyd’s rights

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The federal trial for three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights as Derek Chauvin pinned the Black man’s neck to the street is expected to begin Monday with opening statements, after a jury of 18 people was swiftly picked last week. J. Kueng, Thomas Lane […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

‘Horrific’: 5 homicide victims discovered at Milwaukee home

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Five people were found dead in a Milwaukee home Sunday in what police are investigating as multiple homicides, according to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s office. Milwaukee Police responded about 3:45 p.m. Sunday to assist with a welfare check at the residence where four men and one woman were found dead, Milwaukee […]
22 hours ago
Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, trai...
Associated Press

US draws down Ukraine embassy presence as war fears mount

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department on Sunday ordered the families of all American personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine to leave the country amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion. The department told the dependents of staffers at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv that they must leave the country. It also said that […]
22 hours ago
This cover image provided by Random House shows "A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Blac...
Associated Press

Hanif Abdurraqib, Tom Lin receive Carnegie literary awards

NEW YORK (AP) — Receiving a literary prize from the American Library Association is a kind of homecoming for the essayist-poet Hanif Abdurraqib. “When I was young, I treated the library as a place to pass time, to get lost in books that I could have otherwise not afforded to own, music that I could […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Bob Spalding, left, and Don Wilson of The Ventures perform at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...
Associated Press

Don Wilson, guitarist with The Ventures, dies at 88

Don Wilson, co-founder and rhythm guitarist of the instrumental guitar band The Ventures, has died at the age of 88.
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Arizona State University

Gain insights on next year’s trends at 58th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon

Employment is recovering from the severe contraction induced by the pandemic, but it is still way below levels at the start of 2020. Can it fully recover in the coming year?
...
PNC BANK

How your family can explore the Musical Instrument Museum

Whether you want to spend a day with family, do crafts with kids at home, or have an adult night out, the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix has options. As the world’s only global musical instrument museum, MIM offers interactive and immersive exhibits to foster an appreciation of different cultures and their instruments. “A visit […]
...
DISC DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

What you need to know about spine health

With 540 million people suffering from lower back pain, it remains the leading cause of long-term disability. That’s why World Spine Day on Oct. 16 will raise awareness about spinal health with its theme, BACK2BACK. “BACK2BACK will focus on highlighting ways in which people can help their spines by staying mobile, avoiding physical inactivity, not overloading […]
Trump slams politicians who won’t say they got booster shots