White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki indicated during a press conference earlier today that Trump should be “more vocal about the safety and efficacy” of the vaccine. “We’d support that,” she said, adding that “every other living president has participated in public campaigns.”
“They did not need an engraved invitation to do so. He may decide he should do that. If so, great. But there are a lot of different ways to engage to reach out to ensure that people of a range of political support and backing know the vaccine is safe and effective,” she added.
With Trump’s silence, Biden encouraged local leaders and medical professionals to reach out to “MAGA folks” because their advice would probably have a greater effect than the ex-president’s.
“I discussed it with my team and they say the thing that has more impact than anything Trump would say to the MAGA folks is what the local doctor, what the local preachers, what the local people in the community say,” he said. “So I urge all local docs and ministers and priests to talk about why, why it’s important to get that vaccine, and even after that, until everyone is in fact vaccinated, to wear this mask.”
Biden’s advice seemed to be at odds with recent remarks made by Dr. Anthony Fauci, his top pandemic scientist. In an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Fauci said that Trump encouraging his loyal supporters to take the vaccine would be a “game changer.”
“It seems like an intrinsic contradiction, the fact that you had a program that was started during his presidency and he’s not out telling people to get vaccinated. I wish he would. He has such an incredible influence over people in the Republican Party,” he added. “It would really be a game changer if he did.”
Trump and former first lady Melania Trump were vaccinated at the White House in January, a source confirmed to Newsweek March 2, several weeks after Biden’s inauguration.
A recent poll conducted by NPR found that Republican voters were less likely to get vaccinated than Democratic voters, with 47 percent of Trump supporters indicating that they don’t want it.
At least 70 percent of the population would need to be vaccinated for the country to reach herd immunity, according to Fauci.
On Monday, Psaki told reporters that the Biden administration aims to see all citizens vaccinated, “not just those who voted for him.”
“One of the steps we’ve taken, and we can effectively do outside of any partisan politics is ensure that there are locations with trusted, interested locations, community health centers, pharmacies, where anybody of any political persuasion can get the vaccine, and they don’t need to wear a Joe Biden sticker in order to do that,” the press secretary said.
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s representatives for comment.
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