Trump 'Surprised, Very Appreciative' of Biden's Rare Praise of His Role in COVID Vaccine Rollout
06:07 GMT 22.12.2021 (Updated: 06:16 GMT 22.12.2021)
The Trump administration helped create the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna coronavirus vaccines by injecting billions of dollars into research and development work through Operation Warp Speed.
Donald Trump was "surprised" but "very appreciative" to hear President Joe Biden praise the former administration for its role in developing COVID-19 vaccines
and highlighting that the 45th president had received a booster shot.
"I think it was a terrific thing, and I think it makes a lot of people happy", the ex-POTUS told Fox News, in an apparent nod to the vaccines.
Trump then reiterated that he was "a little bit surprised", adding that he thinks Biden "did something very good".
18 December 2021, 12:21 GMT
"You know, it has to be a process of healing in this country, and that will help a lot", the former US president said.
Referring to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, Trump said that "this is a great thing that we all did" and that although he "may have been the vehicle, […] we all did this together".
"When we came up with these incredible vaccines — three of them — and therapeutics, we did a tremendous job, and we should never disparage them. We should be really happy about it because we've all saved millions and millions of lives all over the world", the 45th president stated.
He also claimed that it is "tone" and "trust", not mandates, which are key factors in getting Americans vaccinated.
"If you have the mandate, the mandate will destroy people's lives — it destroys people's lives, just as the vaccine saves people. I think that it's really a question of tone. It's a question of trust, and hopefully, the people that have had COVID, hopefully they will be given credit for that", Trump said.
The remarks follow Biden's speech at the White House on Tuesday, in which he focused on updates to the federal response to the COVID-19 pandemic in light of the spread of the new Omicron variant, which currently makes up over 73% of new infections across the US, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
19 December 2021, 17:32 GMT
During the speech, POTUS gave kudos to the Trump administration for its efforts to develop COVID vaccines before he assumed office in January 2021.
"Let me be clear. Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America was one of the first countries to get the vaccine. Thanks to my administration and the hard work of Americans, we led a roll out, made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms", Biden emphasised.
Separately, he mentioned that he received his COVID vaccine booster shot "as soon as they were available", adding, "and just the other day, former President Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot. [It] maybe one of the few things he and I agree on".
Biden spoke after Trump told a crowd of his supporters in Dallas late last week that he had received a coronavirus vaccine booster jab, followed by booing and jeering from the audience.
He responded by saying: "If you don't want to take it, you shouldn't be forced to take it — no mandates. But take credit because we saved tens of millions of lives".
Under then-US President Trump, the country's Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use authorisations for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID vaccines
In December of that year, Trump inked an executive order stipulating that all Americans should gain access to the vaccines before the US government could start to aid other countries.