Donald Trump's Championing of Vaccines Leaves His Followers Angry, Confused

Former President Donald Trump's recent touting of COVID-19 vaccines has caused consternation among some of his supporters amid persistent vaccine skepticism in the U.S.

Trump has previously encouraged vaccinations, but he appears to have become an even stronger advocate for the shots in recent weeks, telling Candace Owens of The Daily Wire that unvaccinated people are the ones getting very sick.

His stance has caused some anger and confusion, with a crowd recently booing him after he revealed he had received a vaccine booster shot and typically friendly commentators criticizing him.

On Sunday night, Trump appeared in Dallas, Texas with former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly during the final part of "The History Tour" event.

O'Reilly told the crowd that both he and Trump were vaccinated, which led to booing.

"Did you get the booster?" O'Reilly asked. "Yes," Trump replied, and O'Reilly added: "I got it, too."

Those comments resulted in more booing and Trump told the audience: "Don't! Don't! Don't! Don't! Don't!" and waved away the criticism with his hand.

O'Reilly later suggested in an interview with Dan Abrams of NewsNation that Trump had been upset by the reaction and he had tried to reassure the former president.

In an interview with Candace Owens released on Wednesday, Trump again promoted vaccination against COVID-19 and pushed back against a suggestion that the vaccines aren't effective.

"I came up with a vaccine, with three vaccines," Trump said. "All are very, very good. Came up with three of them in less than nine months. It was supposed to take five to 12 years."

Owens cut in during those remarks, saying: "And yet more people have died under COVID-19 this year, by the way, under Joe Biden than under you. And more people took the vaccine this year, so people are questioning how..."

"Oh no, the vaccine[s] work, but some people aren't taking them," Trump said. "The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones who don't take their vaccine."

"But it's still their choice, and if you take the vaccine you're protected. Look, the results of the vaccine are very good. And if you do get it, it's a very minor form. People aren't dying when they take the vaccine," he said.

Some figures on the right expressed criticism of Trump for his stance on vaccines.

"Remember when Trump said you would be playing right into the Democrat's hands by mocking the rushed, ineffective shot?" Stop the Steal organizer Ali Alexander wrote on messaging app Telegram.

"Yeah, Joe Biden praises him and his booster shot. Trump, stop. Just stop. Have your position (backed by Fauci) and allow us to have ours (which is backed by science). This losing is getting boomer level annoying," he said.

Stop the Steal was a campaign promoting the unfounded claim that 2020 presidential election had been stolen from Trump through voter fraud.

Conservative cartoonist Ben Garrison, who has been a strong supporter of Trump, caused some surprise by releasing a new cartoon criticizing the former president for his position on vaccines. It depicted Trump on a "vaccine bandwagon" while people wearing red MAGA hats booed him.

Conspiracy theorist and InfoWars host Alex Jones, who has also been supportive of Trump in the past, said on his show this week that "we're fighting Bill Gates and Fauci and Biden and the New World Order and Psaki and the Davos Group."

"And now we've got Trump on their team," Jones said.

Owens took to Twitter following the widespread coverage of Trump's remarks and while she did not criticize the former president, she made it clear she disagreed with him.

"I have no issue with any person who wants to get the vaccine," Owens wrote. "I just will never ever let that vaccine into my body. I believe firmly that Big Pharma is the greatest evil on the face of the planet. I am healthy, young, in shape and simply unafraid of Covid-19."

In a subsequent tweet, Owens said she doesn't trust the vaccine and questioned its scientific basis.

Donald Trump Arrives at a Florida Rally
Former U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to hold a rally on July 3, 2021 in Sarasota, Florida. Trump has strongly defended COVID-19 vaccines in recent remarks. Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images

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