Trump calls himself ‘father of the vaccine’ and claims he deserves credit for coronavirus shots

Ex-president demands praise for US recovery in interview with Fox’s Maria Bartiromo despite leaving country in disarray, overseeing dysfunctional response to pandemic and recommending bleach injections

Joe Sommerlad
Thursday 29 April 2021 15:00
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Related video: Key moments from Joe Biden’s joint session of Congress

Former US president Donald Trump has claimed that he is “the father of the vaccine” for coronavirus, attacking his successor Joe Biden for taking credit for the much-improved US response to the crisis.

Mr Trump was speaking to Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business in response to Mr Biden’s address to Congress on Wednesday evening marking his first 100 days in the White House.

The new US president had described the opening months of his tenure as one of “crisis and opportunity”, declaring that “America is rising anew” and detailing his plans to revive the economy following the coronavirus pandemic and tackle the climate emergency in a sweeping speech.

The Republican Party’s official rebuttal was already delivered last night by senator Tim Scott of South Carolina but Mr Trump wasted little time in calling in to his preferred network broadcaster to offer a revisionist history of his administration’s bungled response to the pandemic, which was characterised by dysfunction, disorganisation and Mr Trump himself publicly speculating that bleach injections could fight the virus.

The ex-president, now a private citizen in Florida, also said Mr Biden is “destroying our country” with his policy on immigration at the US-Mexico border, warning falsely that “murderers” are flooding in from Central America, and said that it was “unfair” that federal prosecutors had executed a search warrant at the apartment of his former personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, a grievance he returned to repeatedly.

After once more blaming Beijing for the spread of the “China Virus” and again insisting that November’s presidential election was “totally fraudulent”, Mr Trump also gave his clearest indication yet that he intends to run for the presidency again in 2024, saying he is “100 per cent thinking about running again” and promising: “We will be very successful.”

Asked by Ms Bartiromo whether he would consider Florida governor Ron DeSantis as his next running mate, after falling out with his former vice president Mike Pence in the final weeks of his first term, Mr Trump would only say that Mr DeSantis is a friend whom he has a lot of admiration for.

He told his loyal supporters to “have faith” in his failed Make America Great Again movement and bemoaned “ridiculous” political fundraising rules when pressed for more details of his future campaigning activities.

But perhaps his most bizarre claim over the course of a characteristically long and rambling interview light on specifics was that Democratic lawmakers had appeared to be “choking” on their face masks during last’s night’s presidential address to Congress, noting that House speaker Nancy Pelosi was wearing one of the biggest he had ever seen.

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