Amid many cheers from a large crowd of supporters packed shoulder to shoulder in Cullman, Ala., on Saturday night, former President Trump also got a few boos when he brought up the coronavirus vaccine. "I believe totally in your freedoms, I do, you gotta do what you gotta do, but I recommend take the vaccines. I did it. It's good," he said, per Fox News. "No, that's OK. That's all right," he added upon hearing the crowd's negative reaction. "You got your freedoms. But I happened to take the vaccine. If it doesn't work, you'll be the first to know. OK? I'll call up Alabama, I'll say, hey, you know what? But it is working. But you do have your freedoms you have to keep. You have to maintain that." Alabama has the country's lowest vaccination rate, with just over 36% of its residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19, NBC News reports.
The Save America rally, held at York Family Farms, was packed with tens of thousands of largely unmasked Trump supporters, WAAY-TV reports. "We don’t need the masks, they don’t help us, we’re in the open air, we have the antibodies," one attendee told the station. As cases and hospitalizations rise across the South, Cullman County's current surge matches the peak it experienced in December, and the city declared a COVID state of emergency Thursday so that the rally would have extra emergency support. The county's COVID hospitalizations rose 218% over the past two weeks, Insider reports. Alabama has also once again declared an emergency due to COVID; the state ran out of ICU beds last week, CBS News reports. More quotes from the nearly 90-minute speech, which Fox notes "seemed like a preview of a potential stump speech" should Trump run in 2024:
- Afghanistan: "This is a great stain on the reputation of our country," he said of the Taliban's quick takeover. "Biden failed totally on the pandemic and he’s now overseeing the greatest foreign policy humiliation in the history of the United States of America," he said, per WBHM.
- Another presidential run? Trump made no promises, but said, "We have to defeat the radical left. We will not give up and we will never surrender. Our movement is far from over, in fact, our fight has just begun."
- More on COVID: Trump slammed President Biden for "reimposing mask mandates and threatening new restrictions," said he'd failed on vaccinations, and wondered, "Could you imagine if I were president and the virus was surging back?"
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