Former President Donald Trump said he was "surprised" and "very appreciative" that President Joe Biden thanked him and his administration Tuesday for their success in developing COVID-19 vaccines.
"I'm very appreciative of that — I was surprised to hear it," Trump told Fox News of Biden's comments. "I think it was a terrific thing, and I think it makes a lot of people happy."
Biden held a press conference in which he announced increased COVID-19 testing capacity and expanded access to vaccines, and support for hospitals across the country amid a surge in cases of the omicron variant.
"Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America is one of the first countries to get the vaccine," Biden said. "Thanks to my administration, the hard work of Americans, we led a rollout that made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms."
Trump told Fox News that Biden's words could be helpful in the fight against COVID-19 because "tone" and "trust" were important in getting Americans vaccinated.
"I think he did something very good," Trump told Fox News. "You know, it has to be a process of healing in this country, and that will help a lot."
The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership, helped lead to the Food and Drug Administration approving emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines in less than a year.
"This is a great thing that we all did," Trump told Fox News. "I may have been the vehicle, but we all did this together.
"When we came up with these incredible vaccines — three of them — and therapeutics, we did a tremendous job, and we should never disparage them. We should be really happy about it because we’ve all saved millions and millions of lives all over the world."
Trump, who was infected with coronavirus in the fall of 2020, on Sunday said he had received his COVID-19 booster shot.
"You have to embrace it," Trump told Fox News of the vaccine. "You don’t have to do it, and there can’t be mandates and all those things, but you have to embrace it."
The omicron variant has contributed greatly to a national surge of COVID-19 infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced this week that omicron comprises 73% of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
Trump reiterated his stance against vaccine mandates.
"It’s a matter of getting people out to, ideally, get the vaccine," Trump told Fox News. "If you have the mandate, the mandate will destroy people's lives — it destroys people's lives, just as the vaccine saves people."
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.