Story at a glance
- Graham on Monday revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 after he began experiencing flu-like symptoms on Saturday.
- The senator said former President Trump has been checking on him every day during his illness, and he urged the former president to speak up and promote the vaccines.
- “From a conservative person’s point of view, we should do all we can as a nation to get our economy back up and running and to protect our way of life,” he said.
Longtime Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says he recently urged the former president to promote COVID-19 vaccines among his supporters as cases and hospitalizations in the U.S. spike due to the highly contagious delta variant, The Associated Press reports.
Graham on Monday revealed he tested positive for COVID-19 after he began experiencing flu-like symptoms on Saturday. Graham’s infection is the first known instance of a “breakthrough” case among senators. He received the two-dose Pfizer vaccine back in December as soon as it became available to members of Congress. The senator credited the vaccine for his mild symptoms.
In a Thursday interview with The Associated Press, Graham said former President Trump has been checking on him every day during his illness and he urged the former president to speak up and promote the vaccines.
“I’ve urged him to be aggressive and say, ‘Take the vaccine,” Graham told the news outlet.
“From a conservative person’s point of view, we should do all we can as a nation to get our economy back up and running and to protect our way of life,” he said.
“No one’s being asked to go off to fight radical Islam or fight a foreign enemy. We’re being asked to make responsible medical decisions,” he said, adding “Take the vaccine.”
Trump privately received the coronavirus vaccine while he was in office in January, unlike several top politicians including former Vice President Mike Pence and then-President-elect Biden, who publicly got the shots to prove they were safe.
The former head of the Health and Human Services on Tuesday wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times that Trump could have salvaged trust in COVID-19 vaccines had the president chosen to get vaccinated publicly.
“I’m glad former President Trump got vaccinated, but it would have been even better for him to have done so on national television so that his supporters could see how much trust and confidence he has in what is arguably one of his greatest accomplishments,” Azar wrote.
Polling has consistently shown Republicans are hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, or flat out refuse to get it.
Vaccination rates across the U.S have lagged, with just 58 percent of eligible Americans fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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