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Trump’s Anti-Vaccine Problem

U.S.Trump’s Anti-Vaccine Problem

Former President Donald Trump’s chaotic and denial-filled response to the Covid-19 pandemic turned off independent voters and arguably cost him the 2020 presidential election.

Four years later, a different aspect of his handling of the pandemic has emerged as a sensitive subject with another slice of the electorate: his own die-hard supporters.

Over the past year, as I have listened to Trump’s devotees sing his praises all over the country, I have noticed that they’ve shown a rare willingness to criticize Trump over the speedy development of the Covid-19 vaccines, which he had celebrated as one of his administration’s major successes. The vaccines, a scientific breakthrough, have been given to 270 million Americans and are estimated to have saved millions of lives.

“I’m not real thrilled with the accelerated rollout of the vaccine,” said Amaris Angell, the owner of a recently shuttered food truck business, who went to see Trump in Las Vegas on Sunday. “He still seems to be proud of himself for that.”

“It’s poison,” Nanette Finazzo said of the Covid vaccine.

“I don’t believe in the shots,” Jeanette Reineck said as she waited for Trump to take the stage on Sunday. “Never have.”

The anti-vaccine sentiment coursing through Trump’s fan base has not yet emerged as a major political liability for the former president. Most voters I’ve spoken to quickly excuse Trump for listening to the people around him at a time when no one understood much about Covid. And attempts by Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, to attack him over his handling of the pandemic during the primary and caucus season never really caught on.

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