what might have been
Former aides to former President Donald Trump are reportedly looking back at the end of his term as a major missed opportunity to encourage his supporters to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
A new report in Politico describes how Trump's "unwillingness to pitch his voters on getting the jab has become the source of frustration for former aides," not to mention experts who believe he could have helped sway those Republicans who say they won't get vaccinated. While Trump was in office, there was reportedly a "monthslong effort to get him to publicly take the lead" on pushing vaccinations.
"If he spent the last 90 days being the voice — and taking credit because he deserved to for the vaccine — and helping get as many Americans get vaccinated as he could, he would be remembered for that,” a former senior administration official said.
In fact, health officials pushed for Trump to receive a COVID-19 vaccine on camera, and officials from the White House and federal agencies planned for him take on the role of the "vaccine's salesman-in-chief," Politico reports.
Ultimately, Trump didn't get the vaccine publicly, though former Vice President Mike Pence did. A senior administration official told Politico there were concerns that Trump would be seen as "jumping the line" ahead of those at higher risk after he had COVID-19 in the fall. But officials were also reportedly skeptical that Trump would be open to getting the vaccine on camera.
"Someone joked and said, 'Have you ever seen him wear a short sleeved shirt in public?'" a former administration official told Politico. "'I don't think that's going to happen.'"
It was later revealed in March that Trump actually quietly received the vaccine off camera before he left office — and not only did the White House not tell anyone, but Politico says top health officials and aides didn't even know this was happening at the time Read more at Politico.