With nearly 617,000 having died with the COVID-19 infection, former President Donald Trump remains "very proud" his Operation Warp Speed effort to speed vaccines to the world helped avoid a 1917 Spanish flu-like death toll.
"I think if we didn't come up during the Trump administration with the vaccine, you could have 100 million people dead, just like you had in 1917," Trump told Fox News' "Unfiltered with Dan Bongino." "You take the Spanish flu, 100 million people, up to 100 million people, died. I think we'd be in that territory."
The Trump administration contracted 200 million doses of each vaccine —Pfizer and Moderna— which were approved for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before he left office.
"The vaccines turn out to be a tremendous thing," Trump told Bongino. "It's something I'm very proud of."
Still, amid the Biden administration's push to mandate vaccination for federal employees and U.S. businesses seeking to follow suit, Trump said vaccinating with a EUA-only vaccine should remain a personal choice and not a governmental order.
"I really believe in somebody's choice, somebody's freedom," Trump said. "I'm a big fan of our freedoms, and people have to make that choice for themselves."
Trump also continued his long-held belief American schools have to remain open for in-person learning even amid the rise of the delta variant that is dogging the Biden administration's COVID-19 response.
"You know, it's turned out computers are wonderful and all of that, but one thing we've learned through college and school, undergraduate, everything, is that being in the school is much better than looking at a computer screen," Trump said. "The schools have to open. These young people are losing a big part of their life and they're not going to recover from it.
"What they’re going through socially, I mean, they are not dealing with people," he continued, concluding, "it's going to leave a scar on their lives. It's going to leave a psychological scar."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.