On Tuesday, Donald Trump made the surprising decision to call into NPR, that bastion of right-wing news and opinion. He made it through nine minutes of a scheduled 15 before abruptly ending the call, angered by interviewer Steve Inskeep’s repeated questions challenging the former president’s various election conspiracy theories.
Before the conversation devolved, Trump did something he’s made a habit of recently: touting vaccines. Asked by Inskeep what advice he would give to the unvaccinated, Trump began by attacking mandates (“the mandate is really hurting our country”) and talking up therapeutic treatments. But when pressed specifically on vaccines, Trump said, “I recommend taking them, but I think that has to be an individual choice. I mean, it’s got to be individual, but I recommend taking them.” In a Trumpian bit of weirdness, he added that he had not experienced any “reverberations” since receiving his shots.
As is his wont, Trump seemed to contradict himself in his very next answer, telling Inskeep, of the unvaccinated, “I don’t know why they would be getting the vaccine for the most part, unless they were at a certain age group and they had certain problems.”
Still, talking up vaccines at all presents a contrast with Republicans who prefer not to mention them, most notably Trump’s potential rival for the 2024 nomination: Florida governor Ron DeSantis. Trump appeared to take a clear shot at DeSantis in a Tuesday interview with One America News, in which he called politicians who won’t divulge whether they have gotten a booster shot “gutless.”
Stay tuned for Trump’s thoughts on the developing pandemic situation on this week’s episode of Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!