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OPINION

Trump’s Covid Vaccine Blind Spot

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

Pride is a helluva thing. Not only does it give us an inflated sense of ourselves and our accomplishments, but it also creates blind spots that make it difficult to see, much less admit, where we’ve gone wrong. While some pride and self-respect are certainly good and necessary, too much of it can have drastic consequences. Enter - you guessed it - former President Donald J. Trump, a man whose notorious pride and ego have tragically morphed far beyond a simple character flaw most of us have to some degree to a seeming black hole that threatens to engulf every amazing accomplishment he has won for conservatism and the country.

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As expected, Trump’s pride has caused him to enter a third presidential race, one in which he, unfortunately, has zero shot at winning. But that would be the worst of it if there were any signs he intended to at least try to be a good candidate and learn from his mistakes. But no. While most of the country has moved on and is just trying to figure out how to survive, the former president still insists on reliving 2020’s debacle and 2016’s improbable victory ad nauseam in every speech. He’s also been bizarrely and baselessly attacking the GOP’s most popular non-Trump politician, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a strategy that has backfired with a significant percentage of former Trump voters who appreciate DeSantis’ leadership in Florida, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

If you still don’t understand just how stubborn and ridiculous Trump is being on this issue, consider this: In an interview, last week with David Brody of the conservative podcast The Water Cooler, the former president - the same man who criticized Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp for opening up his state “too soon” in 2020 - praised GOP governors for resisting lockdowns and slammed DeSantis for shutting down Florida “for a period of time.” Truly, does he think we have no memory at all?

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If Trump’s tone-deafness were just limited to attacks on a political rival, it might be excused to some degree. However, it has unfortunately extended to another point of pride, Operation Warp Speed, a Trump-initiated endeavor that began early on in the pandemic and ended up with Big Pharma delivering several under-tested Covid-19 ‘vaccines’ to market. These ‘vaccines,’ as we all now know, turned out to not only fail to do the primary thing vaccines are supposed to do, which is stop the spread of a disease, but they also arguably hurt and even killed far more people than they ever saved.

In late 2020 and throughout 2021, pundits and politicians on the left who hated Trump in every other possible way would grudgingly admit that Operation Warp Speed was the ‘highlight’ and ‘great accomplishment’ of his presidency. And Trump, who has always relished praise from his enemies, soaked it in and encouraged it at every turn. Which may have been well and good, if the vaccines had turned out the way almost everyone in the political and medical establishments expected them to. But they didn’t, not by a long shot. Now, “died suddenly” has gone beyond just an occasional Twitter trend to a grim question everyone who thinks clearly on the issue can’t help but at least wonder every time a young, healthy person collapses from a heart attack.

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Trump, of course, has to know about this. Yet, he continues to stubbornly downplay it. During the aforementioned interview, the former president told Brody that, though he “always” had concerns about vaccine safety, those issues occurred in “very small numbers” and other “reports” have claimed the Covid vaccines were "the greatest thing that's ever happened,” or something.

“But you know, you have many reports that say the vaccines save tens of millions of lives," Trump told Brody in a theme he’s echoed repeatedly in interviews and campaign rallies. “That without the vaccines you would have had a thing where perhaps 100 million people died … Some people say that I saved 100 million lives worldwide.” To which I would respond by asking who exactly those “some people” are and if they exist, why they would have an ounce of credibility with anyone in Trump’s base.

Sadly, I think this goes far beyond simply being a point of pride for Trump and even for many in the medical establishment who pushed vaccines so hard. After all, what well-meaning person (assuming they are/were well-meaning, of course) enjoys going from thinking their actions saved millions of lives to realizing they might very well have led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people? Human nature being what it is, it’s almost hard to blame him.

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Even so, while I’m willing to give Donald Trump due credit for being against vaccine mandates, until he publicly admits that the vaccine program was and is an utter failure, he should not merit consideration for any return to higher office. Being tone-deaf on the biggest issue of this generation due to pride should be disqualifying.

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