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WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 08: US President Donald Trump speaks at the Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit on December 08, 2020 in Washington, DC. The president signed an executive order stating the US would provide vaccines to Americans before aiding other nations. Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Pledge to pray for the conversion of Donald Trump to the Catholic faith

(LifeSiteNews) — Former President and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reiterated his support for the controversial COVID-19 shots yet again, claiming credit for them despite years of pleading from members of his own base to disavow them.

During Thursday night’s annual State of the Union address, President Joe Biden made a passing reference to the shots in recounting America’s battle with the virus. “The pandemic no longer controls our lives,” he said. “The vaccine that saved us from COVID is — are now being used to beat cancer.”

While watching his 2024 opponent and responding in real time on his personal social network Truth Social, Trump replied, “YOU’RE WELCOME, JOE, NINE MONTH APPROVAL TIME VS. 12 YEARS THAT IT WOULD HAVE TAKEN YOU!”

The COVID jabs were developed and reviewed in a fraction of the time vaccines usually take under the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative. But while initially embraced by many in both parties, a significant body of evidence has since arisen establishing that they carry significant health risks.

The federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) reports 37,231 deaths, 214,906 hospitalizations, 21,524 heart attacks, and 28,214 myocarditis and pericarditis cases as of February 23, among other ailments. An April 2022 study out of Israel indicates that COVID infection itself cannot fully account for the myocarditis numbers, despite common insistence to the contrary. VAERS reports are technically unconfirmed, as anyone can submit one, but U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) researchers have recognized a “high verification rate of reports of myocarditis to VAERS after mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccination,” leading to the conclusion that “under-reporting is more likely” than over-reporting.

A 2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS’s) Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events.” On the problem of under-reporting, the VAERS website offers only that “more serious and unexpected medical events are probably more likely to be reported than minor ones” (emphasis added).

Further, contrary to both Trump and Biden’s suggestion that quick delivery of the injections was necessary to end pandemic-related lockdown policies, a large body of evidence has also established that the mass restrictions on leaving home and public gatherings, mask mandates, and other drastic infringements on personal and economic freedom undertaken in 2020 and part of 2021 caused far more harm than good. 

A Florida grand jury is currently investigating the COVID shots’ manufacturers and last month released its first report, concerning the presumptive “need” for Operation Warp Speed. In addition to concurring that lockdowns did more harm than good and forced masking was ineffective, it found that COVID was “statistically almost harmless” to children and most adults and that it is “highly likely” that COVID hospitalization numbers were inflated.

Trump’s refusal to disavow the COVID shots has long been one of the biggest points of contention with former supporters.

Since leaving office, he repeatedly promoted them as “one of the greatest achievements of mankind,” even accusing hesitant supporters of “playing right into their [the left’s] hands,” all the while stressing that he never supported mandating them. The negative reception to such comments got him to drop the subject for a while, though in July 2022 he complained that “we did so much in terms of therapeutics and a word that I’m not allowed to mention. But I’m still proud of that word, because we did that in nine months, and it was supposed to take five years to 12 years. Nobody else could have done it. But I’m not mentioning it in front of my people.”

In January 2023, he dismissed potential safety issues by suggesting that “problems” were in “relatively small numbers,” while stressing that “some people say that I saved 100 million lives worldwide.” At the time, mRNA technology pioneer and prominent COVID establishment critic Dr. Robert Malone revealed that he once filmed a video meant to encourage Trump to change his mind on the subject but it had “no impact.” 

That June, Trump brushed off an audience member who told him “we have lost people because you supported the jab,” answering that “everybody wanted a vaccine at that time,” “I was able to do something that nobody else could have done,” “I never was for mandates,” and “there’s a big portion of the country that thinks that was a great thing.” He repeated that answer in an interview the same month with Fox News’s Bret Baier, lamenting that “as a Republican, it’s not a great thing to talk about, because for some reason it’s just not” and stressing he has no regrets about his administration’s overall COVID response. He regularly declares his administration deserved more credit on COVID, most recently this week.

Trump’s COVID record is seen as one of the former president’s biggest vulnerabilities as he seeks to return to the White House, with his refusal to admit error stoking concerns about how different a second administration would be. Yet with significant backing from Republican officeholders and conservative media, he easily dominated the early primary states, convincing his Republican opponents Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy to drop out in January and Nikki Haley to do the same this week.

Polls currently show Trump leading Biden for the November election, although voters also say that potential convictions in Trump’s various ongoing criminal trials will make them less likely to support him, which Democrat strategists are banking on keeping the deeply-unpopular Biden palatable enough to moderate voters to prevail. 

The third-party candidacy of former Democrat and environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. could be a wild card, given he appeals both to Democrats who want a more mentally-capable and seemingly less extreme liberal, and Republicans who prefer his opposition to the medical establishment, but at the moment the aforementioned polls have him drawing roughly the same number of votes from the two major candidates, leaving Trump with a narrow lead.

Pledge to pray for the conversion of Donald Trump to the Catholic faith

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