Trump, who announced at an event last month that he had received a booster shot in addition to vaccination, cried out to “fearless” politicians who have refused to be equally transparent with the status of their own boosters. His remarks came just weeks after DeSantis sidelined a question about being promoted during a December appearance on Fox Business — a response his staff later claimed the governor had given because it was a ” private medicine”.
“I saw some politicians were interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get a booster?’ Because they had the vaccine and they’re answering — in other words, the answer is ‘yes,’ but they don’t want to say that, because they’re brazen,” Trump told OAN.
“You have to say that,” he said. “Whether you had or not, say.”
DeSantis told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo in December that he did “whatever he did, the normal shot” when asked if he had received his third dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The rest of his response focused on opposition to the vaccine mandate as the governor said the COVID-19 vaccine and subsequent booster shots should be “the individual decision of the people”.
DeSantis once backed the vaccine’s arrival as a pandemic game-changer. In early 2021, he joined hands in giving shots to senior communities across the state. But as vaccination eligibility extended to younger populations, where resistance to the shot was strong and vigorous among conservatives, DeSantis observed. Unlike many political leaders, including his own party, he refused to be vaccinated on camera. His office quietly confirmed in April that DeSantis had received a dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and his communications team declined to say whether he followed through with the booster, saying it was private medical information. .
Rather than publicly encouraging vaccinations and boosters, DeSantis has focused on alternative treatments such as monoclonal antibodies, opposing federal vaccination mandates.
In a statement to CNN on Wednesday, DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pusho claimed it was unclear whether Trump was referring to the Florida Republican in his criticism.
“President Trump didn’t mention Governor DeSantis in that interview, so I don’t want to make any assumptions. Governor DeSantis has always been clear about his position on COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters: shots should be available to everyone, But not mandatory for anyone, and the choice to receive a vaccine or booster is an individual’s personal medical decision,” Pusa said.
Both men have indicated interest in the White House, although DeSantis has publicly stated that his sole aim at this time is to secure re-election for a second term as governor in November. Meanwhile, Trump has both thought about tapping DeSantis as his running mate to bid for a comeback in 2024, claiming he would easily “beat” Florida’s governor in the Republican primary.
“I’ll beat him like I beat everyone else,” the 45th president told Yahoo Finance in October.