Former President Donald Trump suggested in an interview that critics would have been so much harder on him than on President Joe Biden had there been a COVID-19 “attack” on his watch like the one occurring now.
In fact, there was a COVID-19 “attack” — a pandemic, in fact — when he was president.
But Trump compared the coronavirus last year to little more than a case of the flu, and insisted 18 months ago that cases within days would go down “close to zero.” The U.S. ended up tallying 25 million cases of COVID-19, and deaths topped 400,000 by the end of his administration.
“Could you imagine if I were president right now and we had this massive attack from the coronavirus?” he asked. “If that were me, they would say, ‘What a horrible thing, what a horrible job.’ And I don’t ever hear that.”
Many of the rest of his comments were also confusing, including the one following his “imagine” remark: “You know now they like to call it the, they have new names and they’ll have other new names, but it’s exactly what we had, we had the same thing.” The phrase he was likely searching for was the “delta variant” of the coronavirus. At least he acknowledged it’s similar to “what we had” during his administration.
He also bragged about getting vaccines — which were created by private companies — “done so quickly.“ He claimed to be a “big fan” of both vaccines and “our freedoms.”
“I’m a fan of our freedoms, and people have to make that choice for themselves. And I would recommend that they get it and they get it done and they’re being protected. And the vaccines turned out to be a tremendous thing. And I also though feel strongly there are some people who do not want to do it, and I really believe in somebody’s choice, somebody’s freedom, and that’s the way it is,” he said, referring yet again to the “China virus.”
In May 2020, Trump indicated that vaccines weren’t all that important.
“I feel about vaccines like I feel about tests,” he said. “This is going to go away without a vaccine. It’s gonna go away, and we’re not going to see it again.”