Dubiously boasting about having bipartisan support, Trump told Megyn Kelly his “very smart” Democratic friends loved his coronavirus policies but that he wasn’t “proud” of his work on the vaccine, which remains a tense talking point among conservatives.
“As far as the vaccine is concerned, you had the original COVID and the vaccine had an impact on that,” Trump said during Thursday’s edition of “The Megyn Kelly Show” on SiriusXM. “There are some people, I will tell you, some friends of mine that are Democrat, I think they voted for me. But they’re Democrat, very smart people, top people.”
“They say, ‘You know, I don’t understand one thing. Why don’t you talk more about the vaccine? It was one of the greatest things you’ve ever done,’” he claimed. “Now think of that. And I say, ‘I’m not going to talk about it one way or the other.’”
Donald Trump leaves after speaking at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines on Aug. 12. He talked about his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with Megyn Kelly on her show this week.
Trying to take a jab at his Republican presidential primary contender Ron DeSantis, Trump accused the governor of Florida of “demanding everybody take the vaccine” via nonexistent mandates.
In reality, DeSantis has been one of the loudest voices against vaccine regulations.
More recently, he advised people under the age of 65 not to get updated COVID-19 boosters, directly contradicting guidance from federal health officials amid a rise in coronavirus-related hospitalizations.
Both Trump and DeSantis are vaccinated.
As Trump rambled on with Kelly, he claimed his opponents credit him with saving “100 million” people, wildly inflating data that suggests vaccines helped prevent about 3 million deaths in the U.S. by the end of 2022.
“I have people on the other side. Not my side. Although probably there are some on my side, too. They said, ‘You saved 100 million people’ — because I got it done in nine months as opposed to five years to 12 years,” he said.
When Kelly suggested Trump was proud of that accomplishment, he bristled and told her, “No, I’m not proud of it. I’m saying what Democrats think.”
At the end of 2021, the former president celebrated the COVID-19 vaccine as “one of the greatest achievements of mankind.”
According to a study from the Pew Research Center published in May, 7 in 10 adults who are not vaccinated identify as Republican or lean toward the Republican Party, while 2 in 10 identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party, and the remainder do not claim either party or did not offer a response.