Thousands gathered in Cullman, Alabama — which had declared a COVID related state of emergency only days before — to attend the former president's highly anticipated "Save America" rally.
Though he touched on many of his usual topics including immigration concerns, rumors of Russian involvement in the election, and alleged dangers of the "radical left", the Pro-Trump crowd were not happy with all he had to say.
Some time into his speech, the past Apprentice host dipped his toes into controversial waters among his fan base when he turned the subject to COVID-19.
"You know what? I believe totally in your freedoms. I do," he began. "You gotta do what you gotta do-" The crowd erupted into cheers mid-sentence, but their claps and yells quickly turned to disappointment.
"But!" The embattled politician continued. "I recommend taking the vaccines!" he shouted, arms outstretched. "I did it. It's good. Take the vaccines."
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The confused crowd booed, but Trump appeared unbothered by the negative reaction. "That's okay, that's alright. But I happen to take the vaccine. If it doesn't work, you'll be the first to know."
He seemed to win the crowd back over with a joke. "I'll call up Alabama and say 'hey, you know what?' ... But it is working." He went on, going back to less inflammatory ground, repeating he believes they all indeed have their freedom to choose. "You do have your freedoms, you have to maintain that [...] and you gotta get your kids back to school."
This rally is shrouded in controversy not only because of the former president's involvement, but because of a less than ideal location. According to The New York Times, Cullman has seen over a 200% increase in hospitalizations in less than a month.
It has also been reported that Alabama is out of intensive care beds for new patients. The Alabama Hospital Association President Dr. Don Williamson has commented on the unsettling and tragic situation.
"We’ve never been here before. We are in truly now in uncharted territory in terms of our ICU bed capacity," he said in an update to WSFA12. "There were 1,568 patients today who need ICU beds, and there are only 1,557 designated ICU beds in the state today. In the Montgomery area, we have eight more patients who are getting ICU care than we have designated ICU beds here."
Dr. Williamson also noted that only 12% of their present COVID-19 patients have been vaccinated.