White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said that former President Donald Trump shouldn’t need an “embroidered invitation” to encourage people to get vaccinated.
During a press briefing on Monday, Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked Ms Psaki if President Joe Biden would ever “call President Trump and say ‘I need your help, let’s cut a PSA [Public Service Announcement] and tell people to go [get vaccinated]?’”
“What we’ve seen in our data is that the most trusted voices are local officials, doctors, medical experts, civic leaders, clergy from time to time, and that is where we have really invested our funding and our resources,” Ms Psaki replied.
“We’ve seen almost every former president play a role in putting out a PSA, making sure that people understood in the country that the vaccine is safe and effective. We don’t believe that requires an embroidered invitation,” the press secretary added.
Ms Psaki made a similar statement in March when she said: “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. But also, I think what’s important to note is that, as I noted, 81 per cent of Republicans said they would trust their own doctor or healthcare provider, and that’s an important place to invest.”
“Every other living former President — or most of them, if not all of them — has participated in public campaigns,” Ms Psaki added during the press briefing on 15 March. “They did not need an engraved invitation to do so. 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.”
Also in March, every living former president except Mr Trump took part in a vaccine PSA. Barack Obama, George W Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter all encouraged Americans to get vaccinated.
In a statement on Sunday, Mr Trump – who got his own vaccination in private in January – pushed the idea that getting vaccinated is a partisan issue. He said: “Joe Biden kept talking about how good of a job he’s doing on the distribution of the Vaccine that was developed by Operation Warp Speed or, quite simply, the Trump Administration.”
“He’s not doing well at all,” Mr Trump continued. “He’s way behind schedule, and people are refusing to take the Vaccine because they don’t trust his Administration, they don’t trust the Election results, and they certainly don’t trust the Fake News, which is refusing to tell the Truth.”
Republicans touted the vaccines against Covid-19 as a great success when Mr Trump was in office but during the beginning of the Biden presidency started to question them, at times spreading misinformation. This comes as the Biden administration is trying to overcome vaccine hesitancy mostly located in Republican areas and amid concern at the growing spread of the dangerous Delta variant.
According to a CBS poll from early June, 52 per cent of Republicans said they were fully or partially vaccinated. Among Democrats, that figure was 77 per cent. Among Republicans, 29 per cent said they wouldn’t get vaccinated, while the same was true for five per cent of Democrats.
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