Trump was booed on stage Saturday night, at an Alabama rally where he told his supporters to get vaccinated.
“I believe totally in your freedoms,” Trump told the crowd. “I do, you’re free, you got to do what you have to do. But I recommend taking the vaccines. I did it, it’s good, take the vaccines.”
When his supporters started heckling him, Trump said again: “That’s OK. That’s all right. That’s good, you got your freedoms. “But I happen to take the vaccine,” he said. “If it doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to know. OK.”
His supporters’ response is the result of Trump having spent most of his presidency stoking vaccine skepticism only to change his tune once leaving office, hoping to take credit for the Covid-19 vaccine. While campaigning for Arkansas governor earlier this summer, former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders urged Republicans to get the “Trump vaccine.” Politicians “misjudged the Trump vaccine plan, which rolled out just as safely, quickly, and effectively as the Trump administration promised,” Sanders said at the time.
But it’s too little too late for Trump’s newfound enthusiasm for vaccines: As the booing crowd in Alabama would indicate, vaccination safety is one area where Trump and his base now diverge. Even some of Trump’s most loyal supporters remain skeptical despite his inducements.
In December, a Trump supporter told the New York Times she remained “suspicious” of the government and was not even reassured by then- Vice President Mike Pence getting vaccinated. “[It] doesn’t mean a thing to me,” she said. An August Fox News poll found that nearly one-third of Trump supporters didn’t plan to get the vaccine.
I’m sure it doesn’t help that, in every other way, Trump has displayed a complete disregard for Covid-19 safety precautions, and in fact, the rally where he spoke to his supporters Saturday night was feared by local authorities to become a super-spreader event, the Guardian reports.