Former President Donald Trump just wants a thank you.
On the day that Congress passed a sweeping COVID relief package and President Joe Biden announced the government had purchased around 100 million extra doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, the former president apparently felt a little underappreciated. And so, left without a Twitter account, which was taken away from him earlier this year, Trump felt the need to remind everyone that he exists.
“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all,” Trump said in an emailed statement.
He added: “I hope everyone remembers!”
Trump is referring to vaccine development which began during his administration, as did the COVID pandemic. The central piece of that plan was Operation Warp Speed, which funded the development of potential vaccines including the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which were ultimately approved and are now being distributed across the country.
Biden has praised part of the Trump administration’s effort in getting a vaccine out, saying in December as he received his first dose, “I think the administration deserves some credit getting this off the ground with Operation Warp Speed.”
But there were major stumbles. Last July, the Trump administration passed on an offer from Pfizer to secure 100 million extra doses of its vaccine, the New York Times reported last year. The first vaccines were approved and began distribution during the lame duck period of his presidency, but the initial rollout was slow due to manufacturing and distribution issues.
And then there was the fact that, from the very beginning, Trump downplayed the severity of the coronavirus and refused to take precautions, ultimately ending up in the hospital himself with a severe case of COVID-19. On Trump’s watch, more than 400,000 people in the United States died as a result of the coronavirus, the most out of any country in the world.
And while Vice President Mike Pence publicly received an inoculation in December to encourage other Americans to do the same, it was revealed after he left office that Trump and the first lady received their vaccine shots in secret.
Biden touted his purchase of 100 million extra vaccine doses on Wednesday as insurance against uncertainty.
"There's always a chance that we'll encounter unexpected challenges, or there will be a new need,” Biden said at a Wednesday press conference. "A lot can happen, a lot can change. And we need to be prepared."
As for Trump’s statement, it was predictably widely mocked on Twitter.
But even as he tried to remind people of the role he played in creating a COVID vaccine, Trump was the sole living former president who did not participate in a PSA released Thursday urging Americans to get vaccinated.
"This vaccine means hope," former President Barack Obama said during the video. "It will protect you and those you love from this dangerous, deadly disease."