Donald Trump is many things, but he isn't a fan of accountability. He will probably never take responsibility for the 400,000 Americans who died from COVID-19 under his leadership; he will never take responsibility for pushing his supporters to protest stay-at-home restrictions and, later, storm the Capitol in a deadly attack. But he would like to take responsibility for the U.S.'s "beautiful" vaccine rollout — even though governors were calling his distribution plan "a deception on a national scale" at the time of his exit from office.
Since Trump was banned from Twitter, he has taken to sharing his thoughts the old-fashioned way: via 50-word comments written on DIY presidential letterheads. On Wednesday, the office of the former president issued the following statement: "I hope that everyone remembers when they're getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn't president, you wouldn't be getting that beautiful 'shot' for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn't be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers!"
Enter: the internet reactions.
There is a lot we'll remember about how Trump's actions impacted the COVID-19 crisis in America, but this isn't one of them. Thanks to his administration's delayed reaction and long list of lies which led many Americans to believe the virus did not exist (or wasn't life-threatening), the U.S. accounted for nearly 1 in 5 COVID-related deaths worldwide by 2021. Employees and experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that they were "muzzled" under Trump, who attempted to discredit their advice and findings about the virus and the vaccine.
"Why would you bench the CDC, the greatest fighting force of infectious disease in the world? Why would you call Tony Fauci a disaster?" asked medical historian Dr. Howard Markel. "It just doesn't make sense."
Trump's actions didn't improve America's overall vaccine distribution, either. In January, health officials and governors slammed the Trump Administration for repeatedly promising that they had a (nonexistent) national stockpile of vaccines. With this in mind — and after receiving a go-ahead from Trump's camp — state leaders expanded eligibility and then panicked. "I am shocked and appalled that they have set an expectation on which they could not deliver, with such grave consequences," Oregon Gov. Kate Brown wrote at the time. "Oregon's seniors, teachers, all of us, were depending on the promise of Oregon's share of the federal reserve of vaccines being released to us."
Even Trump himself has been undecided about whether or not he wants to take credit for the country's vaccine rollout: When he was actually in charge, he was very quick to say we shouldn't thank him for America's distribution. On December 29, when it became apparent that the U.S. would fall short of its goal to vaccinate 20 million people by the end of the year, Trump tweeted, "The Federal Government has distributed the vaccines to the states. Now it is up to the states to administer. Get moving!"
In case this wasn't enough of a reminder: Trump was also the only living president who didn't appear in a recent ad campaign designed to inspire trust in the vaccine — which is weird because, now that he isn't in office, can't tweet, and doesn't have to deal with that pesky impeachment process, he clearly seems to have a lot of time on his hands.