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Why It’s Not Surprising Trump Is Telling His Supporters to Get Vaccinated

Former President Donald Trump urged supporters at an event Sunday in Dallas to follow his lead in getting vaccinated against COVID-19 — and refused to back down when some in the crowd booed.

SO WHAT

Oddly enough, this may be a sign that Trump is serious about running again in 2024.

WHAT HAPPENED

During the stop in Texas as part of a speaking tour with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, Trump touted his administration’s role in developing COVID-19 vaccines.

“We got a vaccine done. Three vaccines done,” Trump said.

  • “Don’t let them it take it away. Don’t let them it take it away from ourselves. You’re playing right into their hands” with vaccine skepticism, he continued. “Take credit.”
  • Trump also revealed that he had received a booster shot, as did O’Reilly, at which point the boos broke out.
  • “Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t,” Trump said, waving off the naysayers as a “very tiny group over there.”

WHY IT’S NOT SURPRISING

It’s not new: Contrary to conventional wisdom on the left, Trump has repeatedly, if not always so forcefully, advocated COVID-19 vaccines.

  • He previously endured boos at a March rally in Alabama after he told supporters “I recommend take the vaccines.”
  • In March, it was belatedly revealed that Trump and former first lady Melania Trump were vaccinated shortly before leaving the White House.

It’s politics: Trump’s defiance of elements of his base on the issue makes some sense if he plans to run for reelection in 2024, as he has strongly hinted he does.

  • Fully 85% of U.S. adults are vaccinated, including most Republicans, and a large majority of Americans back vaccine mandates, though with caveats, according to polls.
  • Trump first won the presidency in 2016 by tacking toward the center on a number of issues — vowing to end “forever wars” and protect Social Security and even daring to utter the initialism “LGBTQ.”
  • Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has failed to deliver on his promises to end the pandemic, giving Trump an opportunity to recast himself as an anti-COVID-19 hero.

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