(TNS) Former President Donald Trump is taking a dig at politicians like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis who refuse to say if they got the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.
Calling those who evade the booster question “gutless,” Trump suggested that they are trying to avoid offending anti-vaxxer supporters even though they know the booster shot saves lives.
“They don’t want to say it. Because they’re gutless,” Trump said in a new interview with the far-right One America Network. “You got to say it. Whether you had it or not. Say it.”
Trump didn’t name DeSantis in the interview. But there is little doubt he was referring to the rising GOP star, who awkwardly dodged questions about whether he had received a COVID-19 vaccine booster in a recent interview.
DeSantis instead said that he had “done whatever I did, the normal shot” in an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network.
He asserted that people should not be pressured to disclose their vaccination status, a common refrain among conservatives and anti-vaxxers.
That stance didn’t cut it with Trump.
“I watched a couple of politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get the booster?’ Because they got the vaccine,” he said, a description that applies to DeSantis, as opposed to some other leaders who refuse to say if they got vaccinated at all.
“And they’re: ‘Oh. oh,’” he said with a dismissive smirk. “The answer is: yes.”
Trump reportedly views DeSantis as a potential rival for control of the GOP, even though the Florida governor has repeatedly proclaimed his loyalty to the MAGA cause.
Trump takes credit for spearheading the development of the COVID-19 vaccines and even political opponents call the program a bright spot in his otherwise chaotic management of the killer pandemic.
He has recently become more outspoken about supporting the vaccination effort, even as a big chunk of his political base has refused to get the shot.
“The vaccine has saved tens of millions of people throughout the world,” Trump added.
Trump also pooh-pooheed anti-vaxxer disinformation about the supposed dangers of the lifesaving vaccines and boosters.
“I’ve had absolutely no side effects,” he said. “Nothing special.”
The vaccine issue is a rare rift between Trump and his MAGA army of loyal supporters. The crowd booed the former president and right-wing media personality Bill O’Reilly when they announced they had taken the booster at a recent rally.