Trump claims vaccine-hesitant 'don't trust this president'
Former President Donald Trump said Democrats "disparaged" the COVID-19 vaccine last year, claiming that United States citizens who refuse to take it "don't trust this president" just days after President Joe Biden imposed a sweeping mandate .
In response to Biden's executive order demanding employers with more than 100 workers require COVID-19 vaccinations or be subject to weekly testing, Trump told Fox News that the vaccine "shouldn't be necessary," echoing the sentiment maintained by other Republican leaders who believe inoculation against the illness should be optional.
Trump has touted his administration's distribution of an effective COVID-19 vaccine through Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership that helped push out a vaccine in less than a year following the outset of the respiratory virus.
"If you remember, when I was president, there were literally lines of people wanting to take it," Trump said, referencing vaccine hesitancy among segments of the population. "Now, you have a different situation, and it’s very bad."
Both Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence have criticized Vice President Kamala Harris for her remarks last year when she said , "I would not trust Donald Trump" and "I will not take his word for it" over promises of an effective vaccine.
"They disparaged the vaccine, and now, they wonder why people aren’t wanting to take it?" Trump said. "It’s a disgrace."
Biden's decision on Thursday was met with fiery condemnation by Republican leaders, including Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, the latter claiming that the president's "dictatorial approach is wrong, un-American, and will do far more harm than good."
Pence sharply criticized Biden's mandate on Friday, taking aim at the president's remark that his "patience is wearing thin" with the unvaccinated population.
At least 54% of the population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.
"That’s not how the American people expect to be spoken to by our elected leaders," Pence said.
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