Opinion: Maybe Donald Trump is just a huge asshole
Getting vaccinated publicly could have gone a long way toward dispelling Republican doubts about the Covid vaccine — so of course Trump didn’t do it. Former President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump both received the Covid-19 vaccine. They just didn’t tell anyone about it.
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reported the news on Monday, noting that Trump and Melania got the vaccine all the way back in January, when they were still living in the White House.
The news is more than a little frustrating considering the impact a public show of faith in the safety of the vaccine could have had on his supporters, who as it turns out are disproportionately hesitant to inoculate themselves.
Earlier on Monday, Axios published a poll finding that a whopping 56 percent of white Republicans are unsure if they’ll get vaccinated against Covid, despite all three available or soon-to-be available vaccines having been determined safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration.
The number far outpaces any other group sampled. Black Americans were the next-most hesitant at 31 percent.
Trump has an overlarge influence over Republican voters, 88-percent of whom, as he left office, approved of the (objectively terrible) job he did as president.
Last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference only cemented the former president’s enduring control over conservative America, with several speakers placing him at the center of the GOP’s future.
Trump did, during his headlining speech on Sunday, say that “everyone” should get vaccinated, but an offhand endorsement tucked into a 90-minute torrent of unrelated grievances pales in comparison to the message he could have sent by receiving the vaccine on camera.
Of course, Trump couldn’t care less about sending a message.
He routinely mocked the idea of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19, only doing so himself on rare occasions. His flippant attitude toward the virus undoubtedly inspired millions of Americans to disregard the safety of themselves and others, leading to untold cases, untold hospitalizations, and untold deaths that could have been prevented.
Still, it’s unclear exactly why Trump didn’t care to announce that he had been vaccinated in January. Maybe he understood that many of his supporters were anti-vaxxers and he didn’t want to betray them. Maybe he thought it would come across like he was giving into liberal propaganda.
Maybe, as is the simple explanation for most of what confounds us about Trump, he’s just a huge asshole.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.
The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.
Donald Trump called Joe Biden a “mental retard” during the 2020 election, a new book says, but was reluctant to attack him too strongly for fear the Democrats would replace him with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Biden went on to beat Trump by more than 7m in the popular vote and by 306-232 in the electoral college, a result Trump deemed a landslide when it was in his favor against Clinton in 2016.
The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.