Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday night publicly urged Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. He acknowledged in a 20-minute call-in interview with Fox News' Maria Bartiromo that Republicans are especially hesitant to get vaccinated.
"I would recommend it," Trump told Bartiromo. "And I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly. But again, we have our freedoms and we have to live by that and I agree with that also. But it is a great vaccine. It is a safe vaccine and it is something that works."
Other than a brief aside in his CPAC speech in February, Trump has avoided publicly discussing vaccinations since he left office. He and former first lady Melania Trump got vaccinated in January, before leaving the White House, but they didn't make that public until earlier this month. Their inoculations were so secret, "some of Trump's top aides in the White House were unaware Trump got the vaccine and reporters were often told it was unlikely Trump would be inoculated because he had antibodies from contracting the virus in October," Politico reports.
Given the resistance to COVID-19 vaccines among Trump voters, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Fox News Sunday it would be very helpful if Trump urged his followers to get vaccinated. On Monday, President Biden expressed skepticism of the efficacy of a Trump PSA. "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 doctor, what the local preachers, what the local people in the community say," Biden said.
That actually matches the findings of a focus group barraged with various pro-vaccine messaging on Saturday. You can watch Brian Castrucci, president of the De Beaumont Foundation, which sponsored the focus group, explain what worked in the Associated Press report below. Peter Weber