The Biden White House has said it did not ask Trump to send pro-vaccine messages. And Trump wasn’t asked to be part of the Ad Council PSA Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were representedAccording to an employee of one of the former presidents involved in this ad and several Trump advisers. Planning for the ad began in December and was filmed on the day of Biden’s inauguration. By this point, Trump had made it clear that he would not be staying in Washington for the celebrations. In particular, however, the council shot another ad with the former presidents and first ladies, including Jimmy Carter, who was unable to travel to the inauguration.
When Trump has made public statements promoting vaccination, these have been rare and sandwiched between political statements, endorsements from potential MAGA 2020 candidates, and attacks on the small group of Republicans who supported his impeachment.
He recommended the shot during an interview with Maria Bartiromo on Fox News – but then admitted that people have a right to refuse it.
“I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to many people who do not want it, and many of these people have voted openly for me. But here too we have our freedoms and we have to live by them, and I agree with that”, Trump said in March, “But it’s a great vaccine and it’s a safe vaccine and it works.”
In his first statement after the J&J hiatus, Trump accused the FDA of making policies to help Pfizer, the maker of another vaccine, and to deliberately postpone vaccine approval until after the 2020 presidential election.
“They didn’t like me very much because I pressed them extremely hard. But if I didn’t, you would not have a vaccine for 3-5 years, or maybe not at all,” he said in his statement. “The only option is China -Beating Virus, Our Great Vaccines are! “
Some former Trump administration officials said they haven’t given up tuning in more consistently, especially if it puts him back in the public eye. They find that he is very proud of Operation Warp Speed, the $ 10 billion private-public partnership that has helped more than 200 million vaccines Cans be developed, tested and authorized at record speeds from pharmaceutical manufacturers.
Others argue that there is more he could do, reluctant to think that he was anything but committed to promoting vaccination.
“President Trump was a consistent leader and an important voice – and advocated the manufacture, development and use of the vaccine early and frequently, including its use and instructing others to receive the vaccine as well,” said Kellyanne Conway.
And Trump’s senior adviser Jason Miller said the former president would “keep pushing people to get the vaccine.”
But few beyond Trump believers believe that he was an aggressive and ardent advocate of vaccination. And Without Trump at the helm, other prominent Republicans had to fill the void. Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, tweeted a photo of her vaccination last Wednesday (and received a pushback in the comments section of the anti-Vax corner of MAGA World), RNC chairman Ronna McDaniel shared news about her vaccination, and the Republican leader Mitch McConnell has done so repeatedly calling on the public to get the vaccine. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), who heads the House Doctors Caucus, isn’t just defending the vaccine. He goes to Ohio and manages recordings – in one case, he said, on a bus full of elderly, mostly low-income people who had traveled for their injections.
And last week the Republicans of the House welcomed their newest member, Julia Letlow of Louisiana, to Congress. Letlow, who lost her husband, Congressman-elect Luke Letlow, to Covid-19 before taking office, has urged these vaccine-skeptical Republicans to consider their own family’s experiences.
But Trump’s relative silence on this front is remarkable, say other Republicans. And without them, it could also prolong the vaccination campaign and virus fight.
“He could have a real impact and not get the standard public service announcement but talk to his people as he speaks to his people,” said former Republican Congressman Peter King, who advised Trump to address his supporters on his own personal appeal unique way. He even suggested a script the former president could use: “Believe me, I wouldn’t take this thing, I wouldn’t endanger my own health if I didn’t see it necessary,” King said, mimicking a potential one Trump selling point for the vaccine. “Do it the real way, but the wise way.” Do you think I’d let my daughter have it if I didn’t think it’s safe? … Just because Fauci is for it doesn’t mean it’s wrong is. ‘”
“I think it would serve a real purpose,” said King.
Sam Stein contributed to this report.