Former coronavirus testing czar says it’s ‘very important’ for Trump to encourage followers to get vaccinated
Adm. Brett Giroir, former President Trump’s coronavirus testing czar, said Monday that it is “very important” for the former president to encourage his supporters to get vaccinated.
“I think it’s very important for former President Trump, as well as the vice president, to actively encourage all the followers to get the vaccine,” Giroir, the former assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, told Jake Tapper on CNN’s “The Lead” on Monday.
“This is something that the Trump administration developed under its time, and I think, like all of the above, including the former president speaking out would be very important,” he said.
These comments come amid raised concerns that Republican men, especially those who supported Trump, are refusing to get vaccinated.
A recent PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll found that 49 percent of Republican men said they would not receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Of the individuals polled who supported President Trump in the 2020 election, 47 percent said they would not be vaccinated if given the opportunity.
On the other hand, only 6 percent of Democratic men and 10 percent of Biden supporters said they would not receive the vaccine.
On Sunday, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, Anthony Fauci, urged the former president to encourage his supporters to receive the vaccine, saying it would make “all the difference in the world” because “he’s a widely popular person among Republicans.”
While the former president has not directly motivated his supporters to receive the vaccine, he did release a statement on Wednesday touting his administration’s efforts that contributed to creating and obtaining the vaccine.
“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) Vaccine, that if I wasn’t President, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all,” read a statement from the former president. “I hope everyone remembers!” he wrote in a statement.
The Biden administration on Monday said it would welcome Trump becoming more involved in vaccine outreach efforts but indicated it would spend more time highlighting local doctors and community leaders who might help convince hesitant conservatives to receive the vaccine.
“If former President Trump woke up tomorrow and wanted to be more vocal about the safety and efficacy of the campaign, of the vaccine, certainly we’d support that,” White House press secretary Psaki said at a briefing with reporters.
“Every other living former president … has participated in public campaigns,” she added. “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.”
The former president and former first lady Melania Trump were both privately vaccinated in January, The New York Times reported earlier this month. Giroir said he did not know they were vaccinated until he heard the reports in the news.