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Former President Trump Calls Politicians Who Refuse To Reveal COVID Vaccine Booster Status ‘Gutless’

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NEW YORK (CBSMiami/AP) — Former President Donald Trump calls politicians who refuse to reveal their COVID vaccine booster status as “gutless.”

“You gotta say it. Whether you had it or not, say it,” Trump said in an interview that aired Tuesday night on the conservative One America News Network.

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Trump, who was booed last month by supporters after revealing he had gotten a booster shot, has become increasingly vocal in calling out those who have questioned the vaccines’ efficacy and safety. It’s a change in posture for Trump as he eyes another run for the White House and faces potential competition from a long list of possible Republican challengers.

Even though the vaccines were developed during the Trump administration, they remain deeply unpopular with large segments of the Republican base, fueled in part by rampant disinformation. Trump, while in office, consistently downplayed the risk posed by COVID-19 and he received his vaccine privately, even as other members of his administration were inoculated in public to help boost confidence in the shots.

“Well, I’ve taken it. I’ve had the booster,” Trump said in the interview. “I watched a couple of politicians be interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get the booster?’ …. And they, ‘Oh, oh,’ they’re answering it — like in other words, the answer is ‘Yes,’ but they don’t want to say it. Because they’re gutless.”

Trump did not name names, and his spokespeople did not immediately respond to questions about which politicians he was referencing. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican Party who is often mentioned as a possible 2024 presidential contender, has notably declined to say whether he has received a booster.

“So I’ve done whatever I did, the normal shot. And, you know, that, at the end of the day, is people’s individual decisions about what they want to do,” DeSantis told Fox News Channel host Maria Bartiromo last month.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Many House Republicans, including top Trump allies, have also declined to disclose their vaccination status. Some such as Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene are open about their refusal to get it.

By criticizing other politicians reluctant to disclose their vaccination status, Trump appears to be looking to turn the shots into a political issue that allows him to promote his administration’s success in facilitating their development while creating a contrast with other possible 2024 GOP candidates loath to upset the base.

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In recent weeks, the highly contagious omicron variant has driven record case counts, overwhelmed hospitals and disrupted essential services because of staffing shortages. The booster has been shown to significantly bolster immune protection against the variant, and the Biden White House has urged Americans to take the shots.

In an interview last month, Trump seemed to acknowledge the risk many of his supporters were taking by not getting vaccinated, though he has repeatedly said he is against mandating the shots.

“This was going to ravage the country far beyond what it is right now. Take credit for it. Take credit for it. … Don’t let them take it away. Don’t take it away from ourselves,” he said in December during an appearance with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly when Trump first revealed he had received the booster and was booed by some in the crowd.

In an interview with conservative commentator Candace Owens, Trump stressed how well the vaccines work at preventing hospitalization and serious illness.

“The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take their vaccine,” he told her. “People aren’t dying when they take their vaccine.”

Owens, a longtime Trump supporter, later sought to undermine Trump’s support of the vaccines in the interview by pointing to his age, 75.

But in the OAN interview, Trump did not relent.

“The fact is that I think the vaccine has saved tens of millions of people throughout the world. I have had absolutely no side effects,” he said. Still, he repeated his opinion that young people, for whom serious complications for the virus are rare, should not be vaccinated, even though health officials have urged everyone who is eligible to get the shots.

Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19 in October 2020, weeks before the presidential election, and received experimental monoclonal antibody treatment.

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(© Copyright 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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Opera singer accepts insanity plea in Mar-a-Lago breach

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Connecticut opera singer who drew fire from law enforcement when she sped through a checkpoint outside then-President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Florida two years ago was found not guilty by reason of insanity Tuesday.

Florida prosecutors and Circuit Judge Scott Suskauer accepted Hannah Roemhild’s plea during a three-minute hearing with the 32-year-old singer appearing by Zoom from her home state.

Federal prosecutors accepted a similar plea deal in August. Her attorneys have said she has a history of mental illness and had stopped taking her medication before her wild ride through Palm Beach on Jan. 31, 2020.

She had been charged with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing arrest and resisting an officer without violence.

Roemhild only spoke to acknowledge her presence during the West Palm Beach hearing. Under terms of the agreement, mirroring those in the federal case, she must undergo psychiatric treatment and counseling and take medications, with monthly blood tests to confirm compliance.

Prosecutors agreed Roemhild “does not create a substantial risk of injury to herself or others.”

Under Florida law, a person can only be found not guilty by reason of insanity if, because of mental illness, they did not know what they were doing or its consequences, or did not know it was wrong.

Roemhild came to the attention of law enforcement after she pulled a rented Jeep into the parking lot of The Breakers, a luxury hotel about 3 miles (5 kilometers) north of Mar-a-Lago on Ocean Boulevard, according to court records. She climbed on top of the Jeep and began waving at guests and making obscene gestures. Hotel employees summoned Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Tony Kingery, who was working a security detail at the hotel.

When he drove up in his patrol car with his emergency lights turned on, Roemhild was sitting in her Jeep and tried to drive away over his commands to stop. Kingery broke the driver’s window with his baton, but she sped away onto Ocean and headed south, driving dangerously through Palm Beach’s downtown shopping district with the sergeant unable to keep up with her, court documents said.

She soon reached the checkpoints that had been setup around Mar-a-Lago in anticipation of Trump’s arrival later that day. She zigzagged around barriers and narrowly missed hitting two Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputies and a Secret Service agent as she sped through the restricted area. They opened fire, breaking out her back window, but Roemhild was unhurt.

She then drove to nearby Palm Beach International Airport to pick up her mother, who had just arrived. The two then drove to a nearby motel, where Roemhild was arrested as she tried to run from officers into her room. She told them she was trying to escape people who were trying to kill her.

Mar-a-Lago was the scene of several intrusions during Trump’s four-year term.

In August 2020, three teenagers fleeing police while carrying a semiautomatic gun in a backpack jumped a wall at Mar-a-Lago but police did not believe they knew where they were.

In March 2019, Chinese national Yujing Zhang gained access to Mar-a-Lago while carrying a laptop, phones and other electronic gear. That led to initial speculation that the 33-year-old businesswoman from Shanghai might be a spy, but she was never charged with espionage. Text messages she exchanged with a trip organizer indicated she was a fan of the president and wanted to meet him or his family to discuss possible deals. She was found guilty of trespassing and deported.

In December 2019, the club’s security officers confronted another Chinese national, Jing Lu, 56, for trespassing and told her to leave, but she returned to take photos. Lu was charged with loitering and resisting an officer without violence after taking photos by entering a service entrance. She was later acquitted of trespassing but guilty of resisting arrest.

On Thanksgiving weekend 2018, a University of Wisconsin student visiting the area with his parents walked into Mar-a-Lago by mingling with a group that was entering. He was arrested and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Football coach cancels weightlifting, tells players to shovel driveways, help neighbors instead

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — While a number of activities were cancelled due to winter weather throughout the Pittsburgh region, one local high school football coach found the snowfall as an opportunity to allow his players to give back.

More than 6″ of snow blanketed Western Pennsylvania overnight from Sunday evening through Monday morning.

Before the snow started to fall, Bethel Park head football coach Brian DeLallo relayed a message to his players through social media.

On Twitter, DeLallo said that Monday’s weightlifting workout was cancelled due to the expected severe weather.

He then said to “Find an elderly or disabled neighbor and shovel their driveway.”

Lastly, DeLallo told his players not to accept any money, allowing the driveway shoveling to serve as Monday’s workout.

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2 critically injured after being hit by vehicle in Pompano Beach

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POMPANO BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – Two people are critically injured after being struck by a car in Pompano Beach.

Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies said a driver slammed into the victims in the area of Northwest Sixth Avenue and Second Street, Tuesday.

The driver involved stayed at the scene.

Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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