In May 2020, Donald Trump, then President, authorized the creation of Operation Warp Speed under the aegis of the federal government, in order to speed up the development of multiple vaccines to protect the general public from the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, though, many in the Trump “base,” including prominent voices such as that of Alex Jones of InfoWars, have taken to warning people against the vaccines, and portraying them as a conspiratorial plot. As 2021 came to an end, former President Trump became vocal in defense of the consequences of his Operation Warp Speed.
One longtime Trump admirer, Candace Owens, who is herself anti-vaxx, (not merely anti-mandate) has tried to explain Trump’s pro-vaxx statements to her (and his) base by saying that he is old and set in his ways. “I’ve seen other people that are older have the exact same perspective, like, they came from a time before TV, before internet, before being able to conduct their independent research.”
In Pill Form:
This is a peculiar explanation. Trump was born in 1946. NBC began regular network television broadcasts in 1947, so Trump only lived in “a time before TV” very briefly. Much more recently, Trump was the star of a television reality show for years before running for President. He certainly didn’t come from a “time before … internet” and, in fact, his use of social media has often been credited as important to the victory of his 2016 campaign.
But Owens’ effort to bridge the gap between Trump and people who were until quite recently his enthusiastic supporters helps confirm the width of that gap.