(USA Features) Former President Donald Trump on Friday touted his success in bringing a number of COVID-19 vaccines to market quickly as he also encouraged Americans to take one when available.
“I encourage them to take it,” Trump told Fox News’s Sean Hannity in response to a question about supporters who are hesitating to get a vaccine. “I don’t know what it is exactly … I don’t know what it is.”
“I’m all in favor of the vaccine,” Trump also said in an interview with New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin. “It’s one of the great achievements, a true miracle, and not only for the United States. We’re saving tens of millions of lives throughout the world. We’re saving entire countries.”
Trump credits his “Operation Warp Speed” program with the historically rapid development of the three vaccines currently being utilized, though there has been some controversy associated with one produced by Johnson & Johnson.
The Food and Drug Administration earlier this month paused the distribution of the J & J vaccine over concerns they may be responsible for deadly blood clots in a handful of cases. Trump ripped the decision at the time.
“They didn’t like me very much because I pushed them extremely hard,” he said in a statement. “But if I didn’t, you wouldn’t have a vaccine for 3-5 years, or maybe not at all. It takes them years to act!” He added, “The only way we defeat the China Virus is with our great vaccines!”
Since President Joe Biden took office, the vaccine roll-out has proceeded apace, earning bipartisan praise.
“Credit to whom credit is due,” Republican strategist Jon Gilmore said, the Washington Examiner reported. “President Trump started the process, and he should be praised for those efforts. President Biden has continued forward and made sure supply meets demand. A true bipartisan effort.”
Nevertheless, there has been some attempt to take credit for the vaccines on the part of the Biden administration. In March both Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris told various media their administration had to “start from scratch” when they took office, claiming that the outgoing Trump administration had not developed any distribution plan.
Trump, as well as several members of his former administration, have called those claims false, saying the previous White House worked with states and the military to get a distribution plan in place as soon as vaccines were available.
Even some Trump critics praised the former president for encouraging Americans to become vaccinated.
“I am glad he did that,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said at a City Hall press briefing Friday. “We gotta speak to everyone, we gotta tell everyone it’s so important to get vaccinated, including folks who had doubts.”