Trump's 'Gutless' Remark Seen as Shot at DeSantis

Former president slammed politicians who decline to confirm having booster shot
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2022 6:39 AM CST
Trump's 'Gutless' Remark Seen as Shot at DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis responds to a reporter's question during a press conference at NeoCity center in Kissimmee, Fla., Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.   (Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been talked about as a possible running mate for Donald Trump if the former president decides to run in 2024—but the two Republicans may be growing further apart on the issue of COVID vaccines. In remarks that CNN describes as a "thinly veiled shot" at DeSantis, Trump blasted "gutless" politicians he had seen in interviews refusing to confirm whether they had received a booster shot. "They don’t want to say it because they’re gutless," Trump told One America News Network. "You gotta say it, whether you had it or not. Say it. But the fact is that I think the vaccines saved tens of millions throughout the world. I’ve had absolutely no side effects."

In December, DeSantis didn't give Fox Business News host Maria Bartiromo a straight answer when she asked if he'd had a booster. He said he had "done whatever I did, the normal shot." DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw, however, told CNN Wednesday that it wasn't clear whether Trump was referring to the governor. Trump "did not mention Governor DeSantis in that interview, so I wouldn't want to make assumptions," she said, adding that the governor's position remains that vaccinations and boosters should be available to everybody, but the choice is "an individual's private medical decision."

NBC quotes "a Trump adviser who was not authorized to speak publicly about the former president’s state of mind" as saying that Trump was just speaking his mind and isn't upset with DeSantis. "Tough to be Trump 2.0 if you can’t be a straight shooter," said the adviser, who noted that no polls show DeSantis beating Trump in a potential 2024 contest. In a tweet Wednesday, conservative commentator Ann Coulter weighed in on DeSantis' side. "Trump is demanding to know Ron DeSantis's booster status, and I can now reveal it," she said. "He was a loyal booster when Trump ran in 2016, but then he learned our president was a liar and con man whose grift was permanent." (More Ron DeSantis stories.)

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