President Joe Biden appeared to be at odds with his top scientist in the pandemic fight, Dr. Anthony Fauci, about whether former president Donald Trump should urge his supporters to get vaccinated, given a poll that shows they are the Americans most likely not to get the shots.
“Should President Trump help promote the vaccine amongst skeptics, sir? Especially those Republicans who say that they’re not willing … ,” a reporter at the White House asked Biden at the end of an event Monday.
“I’m hearing a lot of reports from serious reporters like you saying that. 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 doctors, what the local preachers, what the local people in the community say,” he responded. “So, I urge all local [doctors] and ministers and priests to talk about why it’s important to get that vaccine, and even after that, until everyone is, in fact, vaccinated to wear this mask.”
A day earlier, Fauci said he wishes Trump would use his influence over supporters to encourage them to get the vaccine, saying it would “be a game changer” during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
“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,” Fauci said. “It would really be a game changer if he did.”
While 30% of Americans said they would not get the vaccine if it became available to them, the percentage was far greater among white men, and those who voted for Trump are the most likely not to get the vaccine, according to a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. Forty-nine percent of white men said they would not get vaccinated if it was available to them, and 47% of those who supported Trump in 2020 reported they would get the vaccine.
Trump and former first lady Melania Trump both received their vaccines before his term ended, but he made no public statement at the time, reports surfacing only after he left office.
When pressed about what the Biden White House was doing to reach out to Americans across the aisle, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday stressed that his goal is to vaccinate all Americans “not just those who voted for him.” Psaki touted the efforts by the administration to partner with local health care providers.
“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,” Psaki said. (abcnews.go.com)