President Biden offered rare praise for former President Donald Trump during his address to the nation Tuesday, crediting his administration for helping develop a COVID-19 vaccine that placed the United States at the forefront of fighting the pandemic.

Trump, in return, said he was “surprised” and “very appreciative” of the comments.

Biden’s remarks about Trump came during an address to the nation about the new omicron variant. The battle against COVID-19, Biden said, has been a bipartisan success.

“Let me be clear: Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America is one of the first countries to get the vaccine,” Biden said. “And thanks to my administration and the hard work of Americans, we led a rollout that made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms.”

Under the Trump administration, the FDA approved two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna. Both were part of Operation Warp Speed, a partnership between the federal government and private companies.  

Biden mentioned Trump another time – by name – when he urged Americans to get their booster shot. An Israeli study found that a booster shot increased protection against the new omicron variant compared to a two-shot regimen by a “hundredfold.”

“I got my booster shot as soon as they were available,” Biden said. “And just the other day, former President Trump announced he had gotten his booster shot. It may be one of the few things he and I agree on.”

Trump told Fox News Tuesday night he was grateful for Biden’s remarks.

“I’m very appreciative of that — I was surprised to hear it,” Trump said. “I think it was a terrific thing, and I think it makes a lot of people happy.”

Trump repeated that he was “a little bit surprised.”

“I think he did something very good,” Trump said. “You know, it has to be a process of healing in this country, and that will help a lot.”

The vaccines, Trump said, “saved millions and millions of lives all over the world.”

New data from New York City hospitals shows that an unvaccinated person is 13 times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID and eight times more likely to die from COVID than a vaccinated person. The data includes COVID cases for the week ending December 5.

A Texas Department of State Health Services study found that unvaccinated people were 20 times more likely “to experience COVID-19-associated death than fully vaccinated people” and were 13 times more likely “to become infected with COVID-19 than fully vaccinated people.” The study examined data in the state from September 4 to October 1.


Trump Reveals He Got the Booster: ‘You’re Playing Right into their Hands’ by Doubting the Vaccine

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Alex Wong/Staff, Getty Images/Win McNamee/Staff

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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