Trump ‘very appreciative, surprised’ Biden praised his vaccine success

The country needs “a process of healing…and that will help a lot.” Trump told Fox News.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Former president Donald Trump expressed appreciation and surprise in a Fox News exclusive Tuesday after President Joe Biden praised his predecessor’s work to acquire Covid-19 vaccines as quickly as possible.

“I’m very appreciative of that — I was surprised to hear it,” he told the conservative news outlet. “I think it was a terrific thing, and I think it makes a lot of people happy.”

“I think he did something very good,” Trump continued. “You know, it has to be a process of healing in this country, and that will help a lot.”

Earlier in the day, the president told a press briefing, “Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America is one of the first countries to get the vaccine.”

He then went on to praise his own administration as well as “the hard work of Americans,” which “made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms.”

The Trump administration began an accelerated program in a public-private partnership called “Operation Warp Speed” in May 2020 to develop, manufacture and distribute a Covid-19 vaccine — barely three months after the disease began spreading throughout the world.

By mid-December, the government had spent $12.4 billion on various vaccine developers, which included public agencies and private corporations trying several lines of research simultaneously. That month, both Moderna’s and Pfizer-BioNTech’s candidates were given emergency use authorization by the FDA and Trump ordered 300 million vaccines, enough for every adult in the country.

Continuing his conciliatory tone, Trump said about the vaccine dissemination, “This is a great thing that we all did. I may have been the vehicle, but we all did this together.”

Mentioning that his move to shut the country to all foreign entrants had “saved hundreds of thousands of lives,” he nenetheless refused to comment on Biden’s decision a few weeks ago to ban travelers from certain African countries after the discovery in South Africa of the omicron variant.

When the coronavirus first hit in March 2020, Trump limited travel from China and later from Europe to the U.S. — a move for which he was criticized, Fox noted.

“It is a little tough to be overly critical now, because he just thanked us for the vaccine and thanked me for what I did. You know, that’s a first — so it is very tough for me to be overly critical now,” Trump said.

He did disapprove, however, of the current administration’s approach to the millions of citizens who have decided not to get the vaccine, saying, “I think that it’s really a question of tone. It’s a question of trust” in the government, and forcing people to go for the injections was not the way to achieve that goal.