Former President Donald Trump encouraged Americans to get vaccinated against the novel Wuhan coronavirus on Fox News Tuesday.
“I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” Trump told Maria Bartiromo in a telephone appearance on “Fox News Primetime” before cautioning against vaccine mandates. “But, you know, again, we have our freedoms, and we have to live by that, and I agree with that also.”
National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Anthony Fauci demanded his former boss speak out to encourage Americans take the vaccine on Sunday even though Trump had already done exactly that when speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida last month.
“Everybody get your shot,” Trump told supporters in his first post-presidential appearance.
Over the weekend, however, Fauci said 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.”
President Joe Biden appeared to be on the opposite side of the issue.
“I discussed it with my team,” Biden said when asked about it at the end of an event on Monday. “They say, they think — 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.”
As more Americans become eligible for the coronavirus vaccine in greater supply, bolstered by the recent government approval of the one-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine in February, vaccine hesitancy is a growing storyline as many remain skeptical of its efficacy and safety.
According to results from an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll published last week, 30 percent of adults, or one in three Americans, said they would refuse the coronavirus vaccine if offered.
On Fox News Tuesday, Trump also railed Biden for taking credit for the triumphs of Operation Warp Speed that produced three vaccines in record time.
“We did a great job, we get very little credit for it,” Trump said, highlighting his early decisions to shut down the border from overseas travel vilified by Biden at the time as xenophobic.
In a prime-time address to the nation last week, Biden, whose administration has lied repeatedly about the pandemic preparedness it inherited fromTrump, claimed the coronavirus was “met with silence,” although Trump was convening a coronavirus task force CNN complained was too white while Democrats were pursuing partisan impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill.