By this point, I’d already lost track of the number of Democrats (up to and including Joe Biden) and media talking heads who have demanded to know why Donald Trump hasn’t been telling his supporters to get vaccinated in an effort to reduce vaccine hesitancy. It’s been a recurring theme, as the nation’s NeverTrump forces struggle to find ways to continue blaming Trump for everything nearly two months after he left office. Well, last night they got their wish, though not for the first time. The 45th President did an interview on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo and she brought up the question. Trump didn’t even hesitate, telling viewers that he would recommend getting vaccinated, including the people who voted for him. He emphasized this by calling the vaccines “great,” as well as “safe” and something that works. Happy now? (National Review)
Former president Trump recommended that skeptical Americans take the COVID-19 vaccine during a Tuesday night interview, answering growing calls from Democrats who have said his endorsement will help to convince his reticent supporters.
“I would recommend it,” Trump said during an interview on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo. “And I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly. But again, we have our freedoms and we have to live by that and I agree with that also. But it is a great vaccine. It is a safe vaccine and it is something that works.”
Responding to polls which show that Republicans are more hesitant to receive the vaccine, President Joe Biden and others in his party have called on Trump to speak out about the importance of vaccination.
It wasn’t just elected officials and MSM anchors criticizing Trump for supposedly not encouraging his followers to get a jab. Jimmy Kimmel cast doubts on whether Trump would “follow Dr. Fauci’s advice,” as did some other late-night hosts.
As the National Review article points out, this actually wasn’t the first time Trump has urged his supporters to get vaccinated. During his speech at CPAC he talked about Joe Biden getting vaccinated and then said, “so everybody go get your shot.” It’s worth remembering that CPAC was Trump’s first public appearance since the inauguration, and he brought it up then without being prompted to do so. It’s not as if he’s been raising doubts about the vaccine’s safety.
And why wouldn’t he be pushing it. The only reason that we got started vaccinating the whole country as fast as we did was that Trump kicked off Operation Warp Speed to bring the new vaccines to the public in record time. He talked it up constantly and it was without a doubt one of the more successful initiatives of his presidency. Once the job was done, what did everyone expect him to do? Start going around and telling people that the secret tracking chips in the vials were going to rewrite their DNA and turn them into howler monkeys? He was obviously always going to be a cheerleader for the vaccination effort.
I’ll be the first to admit that the partisan divide in the vaccine hesitancy statistics is alarming. A poll from last week indicated that more than one-third of Republican men were either unsure if they would be getting vaccinated or were definitely ruling out the possibility. We probably still have a bigger problem with this in some minority communities, but the GOP numbers are still significant. But be that as it may, laying the blame on Trump for this seems short-sighted and inaccurate. The former president’s critics frequently claim that Trump made a habit of taking credit for everything good that happened even if he wasn’t the reason for the good news. Well, if you believe that, don’t you think he would want to take credit for the success of the rapid development and approval of the vaccines? You really can’t have it both ways.