The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion If you got a vaccine, Trump wants you to thank him

Then-President Donald Trump at a summit for the Operation Warp Speed coronavirus vaccine plan at the White House on Dec. 8. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

So, who do you think of when the needle goes into your arm? Who do you blame when your jabbed shoulder aches at night? The 45th president of the United States of America, Donald Trump, would like for you to think of him.

In a statement distributed Wednesday by his “communications team,” Trump said the following: “I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers!”

Oh, how we remember. We remember the half-million Americans dead; we remember the superspreader events, the mega-rallies and the White House gatherings hosted by the then-president; we remember his disregard of his own health experts and his mockery of masks. We remember the White House press briefing when Trump said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendation to wear a mask was “voluntary. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on March 12 praised science for the record coronavirus vaccine development. (Video: The Washington Post)

And we remember that Trump himself contracted the coronavirus and was transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center while the country discussed whether Vice President Mike Pence should begin rehearsing the presidential oath. We remember, too, the many blunders and endless disinformation emanating from the White House while infection and death rates steadily rose unabated. And, not least, we recall Trump’s ruminations on the possible curative benefits of bleach injections.

Apparently, the former president feels he’s not receiving enough credit — or attention — for the vaccines currently going into 2 million American arms a day under President Biden. What with Twitter and Facebook now beyond his reach, Trump has no audience to satisfy his insatiable appetite for praise and applause. “Thank Trump” has been trending this week on Twitter, however, suggesting that his supporters have taken up the cause. On Fox News, Sean Hannity has said that Biden should call Trump and thank him.

Follow Kathleen Parker's opinionsFollow

Therefore, whereas and henceforth, let it be resolved that Donald J. Trump created an exemplary public-private partnership, propelled by a $14 billion federal investment under the rubric Operation Warp Speed, to create vaccines and treatment in record time. For this, he deserves credit and, if you wish, praise and applause.

It’s just too bad that a vast number of his constituents aren’t planning to take advantage of the vaccines and have refused throughout the pandemic to wear a mask or to take other precautionary measures. These aren’t necessarily the same people who launched an attack on the Capitol in January, but a Venn diagram likely would reveal some overlap. Not surprisingly, Trump has said or done little to enlighten them about the need to get with the program.

When all other living former presidents — Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter — recently joined an Ad Council campaign urging skeptics to get the vaccine, Trump was notably missing. Even though both he and Melania Trump received vaccinations in January at the White House, no be-like-me photos were shown that might have encouraged others to do the same. A PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll released Thursday found that 41 percent of Republicans — and 49 percent of GOP men — said they wouldn’t get vaccinated. By comparison, about 87 percent of Democrats surveyed said they would or already had received the vaccine. Only 11 percent of Democrats said they wouldn’t get the shot.

Some people don’t like any kind of injection or, in this case, view the vaccine as more hurried than miraculous. Others apparently would rather risk contracting the virus than help Biden meet his ambitious goals. During his first national address since Inauguration Day, on Thursday night, Biden announced that he will direct states to make every adult eligible for vaccination by May 1. He predicted that July 4, 2021, would be a day to gather and celebrate not only the nation’s independence but also its independence from the deadly virus.

Biden’s footnote of caution that variants or other circumstances could spoil the party was essential. But it didn’t dampen his overall tone of hope mixed with empathy for those suffering or lost to covid. While his dignity, humility and sincerity were balm for the soul, they were also plainly irksome to hard-right diehards devoted to Trumpism at any cost.

Alas, there seems to be no antidote for snake oil.

Read more from Kathleen Parker’s archive, follow her on Twitter or find her on Facebook.

Read more:

Read a letter in response to this piece: A shot in the arm, and who’s to thank?

The Post’s View: All of the coronavirus vaccines can save lives. Take whichever you can get.

Karen Bass, Marc Morial and Cheryl Grills: Vaccine hesitancy is not the problem among people of color. It’s vaccine access.

Walter Isaacson: We must move past relying on vaccines — and directly destroy viruses instead

Michael Gerson: White evangelicals are wary of the vaccine. It shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Alexandra Petri: I have not left my castle in ages, and I have some questions about post-vaccine guidelines

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

New covid variant: The XBB.1.5 variant is a highly transmissible descendant of omicron that is now estimated to cause about half of new infections in the country. We answered some frequently asked questions about the bivalent booster shots.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

For the latest news, sign up for our free newsletter.