- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2021

Former President Trump took credit Thursday for fast-tracking the development and delivery of the coronavirus “Trump vaccine” that has saved millions of lives around the world and put the nation on a path toward a return to normalcy.

Mr. Trump said he will never get credit for the leadership he showed in pushing the FDA to approve a vaccine because the mainstream media is “corrupt” and will never give him a “fair shake.”

“The vaccine works and it is really a great accomplishment of the Trump administration and myself,” Mr. Trump said on 77 ABC News.

Mr. Trump said that the Biden administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were slow to announce that fully vaccinated people can stop wearing their masks and ignore physical distancing both outdoors and indoors.

“It has taken a long time, and it is frankly surprising that he did it at all,” he said. “It could have been done a long time ago.”

Mr. Trump’s shadow still looms large over the Republican Party. 

In recent weeks, he has been more aggressive in seeking to inject himself in the national conversation.

Mr. Trump launched a new “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” blog and issued a growing number of statements attacking Mr. Biden and political rivals, including Republicans.

Still, he has had far less visibility since he lost the election and moved from the White House to his Mar-A-Lago resort in Florida.

Mr. Trump lost his direct line to tens of millions of followers after Facebook and Twitter banned him after he insisted the 2020 election was stolen and a pro-Trump mob stormed the U.S. Capitol to protest President Biden’s victory.

Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, said on ABC News that Mr. Trump was mentioned anywhere between 7 million to 50 million times per week before his social media ban and now he is mentioned 3 million times per week.

Mr. Silver said a key driver of the falloff is the simple fact that Mr. Trump is no longer president.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump said he was happy that Rep. Liz Cheney was ousted as House GOP conference chair over her refusal to dial back her criticism of the former president and his stolen election claims.

Mr. Trump repeated his “fraudulent election” claims, and said Ms. Cheney, a daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, will lose reelection next year.

“She’s a loser,” Mr. Trump said. “The people can’t stand her.”

As for Mr. Biden, Mr. Trump said the 46h president has made a mess of the economy and the U.S.-Mexico border, where he said “killers,” “rapists,” and “drug dealers” are pouring into the country.

Mr. Trump blamed Mr. Biden for increasing gas prices and for the recent Israeli-Palestinian hostilities.

“The border gets an ‘F’ that is easy and overall we are becoming a socialist country and that is no good because all socialist countries fail,” Mr. Trump said. “It is actually crazy to watch.”

“Everything is collapsing,” he said.

• Seth McLaughlin can be reached at smclaughlin@washingtontimes.com.

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