Former President Donald Trump drew boos from an audience in Dallas on Sunday night after revealing in an appearance with former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly that he got a Covid booster shot.
“Both the president and I are vaxxed,” O’Reilly said during the final stop of "The History Tour," a live interview show he's been doing with the former president, at the American Airlines Center.
That comment drew some jeers from the audience, according to a video clip of the show that O’Reilly’s “No Spin News” shared online.
“Did you get the booster?” O'Reilly asked the former president.
“Yes,” Trump responded.
“I got it, too,” O'Reilly said, eliciting more hectoring.
“Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! Don’t! Don’t!” the former president then told the crowd, waving off their reaction with his hand.
O'Reilly later said in an interview with Dan Abrams on NewsNation that Trump was apparently hurt by the audience's reaction, adding that he had to console the former president.
"I told him that today, he called me,” O’Reilly said Monday. “I said, ‘This is good for you, this is good that people see another side of you, not a political side. You told the truth. You believe in the vax. Your administration did it, and you should take credit for it, because it did save, I don’t know, hundreds of thousands of lives.’”
During the interview, O'Reilly said about 2024, "I’m trying to tell President Trump, run on your record. He’s going to run again, all right.”
Before the booing Sunday, Trump told the audience that they should “take credit” for the success of the vaccines developed while he was in office.
“Look, we did something that was historic," Trump said. "We saved tens of millions of lives worldwide. We together, all of us — not me, we — we got a vaccine done, three vaccines done, and tremendous therapeutics. This was going to ravage the country far beyond what it is right now. Take credit for it. Take credit for it. ... Don’t let them take it away. Don’t take it away from ourselves.”
“You’re playing right into their hands when you sort of like, ‘Oh the vaccine,’” he added. “If you don’t want to take it, you shouldn’t be forced to take it. No mandates,” he said, drawing cheers. “But take credit because we saved tens of millions of lives. Take credit. Don’t let them take that away from you.”
Trump aides did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.
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While Trump has expressed opposition to vaccine mandates, he has long taken credit for the vaccines developed on his watch. At the same time, he has refused to urge his supporters to take them, even though Republicans remain far less likely than Democrats to be protected.
For instance, while other world leaders, including former Vice President Mike Pence, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, received their doses publicly to promote the lifesaving medicine, Trump chose to receive his in private — an acknowledgement of the unpopularity of the vaccine with large swaths of his base. And while he has blamed the Biden administration for high levels of vaccine skepticism, he repeatedly undermined public health recommendations while in office, encouraging the use of unproven treatments and playing down the threat the virus posed as he tried to prioritize economic recovery and secure a second term.
Trump had told the Wall Street Journal in a September interview that he “probably” wouldn’t get a booster shot.
“I feel like I’m in good shape from that standpoint,” he told the paper. “I’ll look at stuff later on. I’m not against it, but it’s probably not for me.”
The U.S. has been urging all eligible Americans to get booster shots as quickly as possible as the country faces a surge in the new, highly contagious omicron variant. Both Moderna and Pfizer have said that booster shots of their COVID-19 vaccines appear to offer protection against the new strain, which preliminary evidence suggests can better evade vaccines than previous versions.
Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19 in October 2020, weeks before the presidential election, and received experimental monoclonal antibodies treatment. His former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, revealed in a book released this month that Trump was far sicker than the White House disclosed at the time.