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As COVID-19 vaccines continue to be administered throughout the United States, supporters of former president Donald Trump have reportedly been hesitant to take the vaccine, raising questions about what Trump could have done more to ease people's fears about the jab.
According to POLITICO, Trump's failure to do is causing frustration among some of his former aides and health officials.
"If he spent the last 90 days being the voice — and taking credit because he deserved to for the vaccine — and helping get as many Americans get vaccinated as he could, he would be remembered for that," said a former senior administration official speaking to POLITICO. "Honestly, I think if he was out on the road and celebrating his accomplishments and trying to get people vaccinated he wouldn't have been in the mindset that led to [Capitol riots on] January 6."
But some members of Trump's inner circle, such as Kellyanne Conway, are "bristling at the notion that he has been anything other than engaged in promoting vaccination," Politico reported.
While an effort to get Trump to speak out on the efficacy of vaccines has been ongoing, his focus has been elsewhere -- like ranting about a "rigged" 2020 election. "That wasn't how it was supposed to go, according to a dozen former officials who served in the White House or health-related federal agencies," POLITICO's Joanne Kenen and Meridith McGraw write. "They planned on Trump being the vaccine's salesman-in-chief, viewing it as a natural role for a president who cut his teeth hawking real estate and starring on TV."
Instead, Trump and former First Lady Melania got the jab in secret -- it was so secret that some of his top aides learned about it after he left office.
Read the full report over at POLITICO.
More often than not, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is likely to agree with former President Donald Trump rather than President Joe Biden. But this week, Graham vehemently disagreed with Trump for saying some nice things about Biden's decision to withdraw all U.S. forces from Afghanistan by September 11 — which will be the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Trump planned to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by May 1 if he was reelected, and in an official statement, the former president criticized Biden for withdrawing four months later than he would have.
"We can and we should get out earlier," Trump said in his statement. "Nineteen years is enough. In fact, far too much and way too long."
Nonetheless, he shared Biden's basic aim. Trump wrote, "Getting out of Afghanistan is a wonderful and positive thing to do."
Trump criticized Biden's date for Afghanistan withdrawal but called it a "wonderful and positive thing to do." Lin… https://t.co/OjBTpKyEVV— Andrew Solender (@Andrew Solender)1618800424.0
Graham, in an official statement of his own, slammed Trump on Monday for agreeing with Biden.
"I could not disagree more with former President Trump regarding his support for President Biden's withdrawal of all forces from Afghanistan against sound military advice," the South Carolina senator wrote. "With all due respect to President Trump, there is nothing 'wonderful' or 'positive' about allowing safe havens and sanctuary for terrorists to reemerge in Afghanistan or see Afghanistan be drawn back into another civil war."
Graham went on to say, "The intelligence regarding withdrawal is ominous for U.S. interests, and no one believes the Taliban can be trusted to police al-Qaeda and ISIS as envisioned by the Trump-Biden plan. We will see if 'General' Biden and General Trump's withdrawal strategy turns out to be sound national security policy."
Graham: "We will see if ‘General’ Biden and ‘General’ Trump’s withdrawal strategy turns out to be sound national security policy."— Andrew Solender (@Andrew Solender)1618800614.0
Unfortunately for Graham, of the three men, all have run for president. And only Biden and Trump were elected to be commander-in-chief of the U.S. military — while the senator from South Carolina never came close.
Social media posts and other online evidence point to advance planning for the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, but federal investigators failed to act on those threats ahead of time or cite them in their prosecutions.
FBI officials have repeatedly said they turned up no credible intelligence before the insurrection to show Donald Trump's extremist supporters planned to storm the Capitol to stop the election certification, and the Justice Department hasn't presented evidence that riot suspects plotted the attack -- but numerous internet postings suggest otherwise, reported NBC News.
"This information, sitting in plain sight on the internet before Jan. 6, paints a clear picture of a planned and coordinated violent attack," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) in a statement. "It's important to understand how much of this the FBI and DOJ knew, when they knew it, and how they decided which pieces of information warranted action."
A new report from a private research group and an independent review by NBC News found hundreds of social media posts discussing plans to stampede the Capitol, overwhelm Capitol police and block lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden's election win."You know there will be riot police preventing us from getting in the capitol building," wrote one anonymous poster in December. "What if we created a stampede/crush situation? Start pushing from the back. Surely they will have to get out of the way or get crushed. They're not going to start shooting people."
Another post from now-defunct TheDonald.win forum outlined plans to "occupy" the Capitol, "OVERWHELM THE BARRICADE AND COPS" and stop the certification vote.
"There are thousands of posts — with tens of thousands of comments — detailing plans to travel to Washington and engage in violence against the U.S. Capitol," said Daniel Jones, a former FBI analyst and Senate investigator who is now president of Advance Democracy, which gathered the material. "The ultimate end goal of this violence was, on behalf of Trump, to disrupt the Congress and overturn the presidential election."
FBI counterterrorism officials have said they considered any intelligence ahead of the attacks to be "raw" and "unvetted," but some of the postings at TheDonald.win and elsewhere contained highly specific details about Capitol tunnels and other areas where lawmakers could escape if the building was breached.
"Bring handcuffs and zipties to DC," reads one post from a user named CommunismSucks. "No more tolerating 'elected' officials who hate our country. January 6th is the chance to restore this country. Barging into the Capitol through multiple entryways is the surest way to have our bases covered and apprehend these traitors."
Users posted photos of their weapons and instructions for building a gallows -- which was erected by Trump supporters -- to lynch public officials, some of whom were threatened by name by forum participants.
"Congress has a choice to make tomorrow," reads a post by the user Doejohnblowjoe. "Certify Trump [or] Get Lynched by Patriots."
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