Comment: Dear Republicans, Trump wants you to get vaccinated

By Aaron Blake / The Washington Post

I would like to introduce to you a Republican who ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to those who need convincing the most to get the coronavirus vaccine.

Engaged in vaccine conspiracy theories? To verify. Could he have believed that he had enough natural immunity to a previous infection that he didn’t need? To verify. Has shown that he’s worried enough about what his skeptical vaccine friends might think of him? Check and verify.

This Republican would like to tell those same vaccine-skeptical friends that they should get vaccinated; and has now done so on several occasions. His name is Donald Trump.

As many Republicans continue to resist the vaccine, and ambitious and outspoken Republicans increasingly flirt with vaccine skeptics at their base – as Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis best exemplifies – the leader of the Republican Party stuck to his guns to promote the vaccine. . He did this even when he mocked or booed for it, as has now happened on several occasions. And his entire commentary on the matter deserves to be highlighted as we continue to face uncompromising vaccine skepticism.

Trump revealed in an interview on Sunday that he got his recall. He did so despite the fact that he claimed in an interview with Fox Business Network in August that boosters could be Big Pharma‘s bonanza. He also did so although he said in September that he was unlikely to get a callback. If Trump turned the corner on this, maybe those who think he made America great again might notice?

To the extent that Trump’s allies continue to resist the vaccine and baselessly claim that it is dangerous or not worth it, they expressly oppose their beloved former president. To the extent that they claim the vaccine does not save countless lives, they dispute what Trump himself has said time and time again. To the extent that even the vaccinated resist the boosters, they no longer follow his example. And according to Trump’s latest comments, they don’t just despise him; they also play into the hands of their opponents.

To be clear, Trump isn’t saying anything health officials haven’t said about the vaccine for a long time. Nor did he take up this cause when it might have been most important; he refused to disclose his own vaccination as president and did not push the vaccines until more than a month later. But when he weighed in on the vaccine since then, he has delivered the message that it is astonishing that no one has made a public service announcement and rehearsed on Fox News and other conservative media whose audiences have been fed a regular regimen of unsubstantiated vaccines. skepticism.

Here’s a recap:

February: “Everyone, go get shot”

Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said, “We took care of a lot of people; including, I guess, December 21, we took care of Joe Biden, because he got the shot, he got his shot. … This shows you how painless this vaccine injection is.

Trump added, “So everyone, go get shot.”

March: “I would recommend it to” my vaccine-skeptical allies

In an interview with Fox News, Trump said, “I would recommend it to a lot of people who don’t want to get it and a lot of these people voted for me, frankly.”

He also dismissed claims that vaccines are not safe: “It’s a great vaccine, it’s a safe vaccine and it’s something that works. ”

Half April : Johnson & Johnson vaccine safety defended

After the federal government suspended its authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, in light of a rare blood clotting problem that skeptics have grappled with, Trump excoriated the decision and pointed to minimal side effects.

“The federal break on J&J shooting makes no sense,” Trump said, adding, “Only six of the nearly 7 million people who have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have reported blood clots.”

Trump even suggested the move would fuel the kind of anti-vaccine skepticism that was on the rise in his base. (Allies such as Tucker Carlson have often pointed out unverified reports in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, or VAERS.)

“Indeed, this stupid decision is a gift to the anti-vax movement,” Trump said. “Science bureaucrats fuel this deranged pseudoscience. ”

End of April : “The vaccine is a good thing, and people should take advantage of it”

Trump told the New York Post, “I’m all for the vaccine. This is one of the great achievements, a real miracle, and not just for the United States. We are saving tens of millions of lives around the world. We are saving entire countries.

Trump added that “the vaccine is a good thing, and people should take advantage of it,” while adding that it should not be mandatory.

July: ‘I recommend you take it’

At a rally in Arizona, Trump said, “I recommend you take it, but I also believe in your freedoms 100%.”

Mid August: “Once you get the vaccine, you get better”

In the same interview in which Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo finally pushed Trump to initially question the boosters, Trump began by offering one of his most forceful pro-vaccine statements.

“Now one thing: when you have the vaccine, the people who do [get infected] – and that’s a very small number relatively, but the people who get it – get better a lot faster, ”Trump said. “And it’s very important to know that. They don’t get as sick and get better. [Sen.] Lindsey Graham is one example. He said if I hadn’t had this vaccine I would have died.

“So once you get the vaccine you get better,” Trump added.

End of August : “Take the vaccines. … It works.’

At a rally in Alabama shortly after Bartiromo’s interview, Trump again heavily promoted vaccines; even playing with those who booed him for it.

“I recommend taking the vaccines,” he said. “It’s okay. I did. Take the vaccines.

As some in the crowd laughed, Trump was careful to qualify his remarks by noting that it is a personal choice. But then he got the message back.

“You have; no it’s okay. It’s okay. You have your freedoms. But I happened to take the vaccine,” Trump said, before defusing the situation with a joke: ” If that doesn’t work, you’ll be the first to find out. ”

He added: “But it works.”

September: “The vaccines work. … It’s a huge success.

“Vaccines work,” Trump said on a Conservative radio talk show. “And they are effective. So here’s my thing: I think I’ve saved millions and millions of lives around the world.

He added, “And now countries are using our vaccines, and that’s great. It is a huge success. ”

December: Don’t let the Liberals win when you promote vaccine skepticism

During an event with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in Dallas, Trump revealed he finally received a booster shot. He did so despite his August comments about a Big Pharma cash raid and although he told the Wall Street Journal in September that he likely wouldn’t get it. (“I feel like I’m in good shape from that point of view; I probably won’t.… I’m not against it, but it’s probably not for me.”)

And although he was again taunted for his promotion of the vaccine, Trump said it was a small section of the public. He also said – as he had done before – that harboring vaccine skepticism was counterproductive.

“What we have done is historic,” he said. “Don’t let them get carried away; let’s not take it away. You’re playing their hands when you’re like, “Oh, the vaccine. ”

We will see if his supporters heed his advice; or continue playing in the hands of the left.

Aaron Blake is a senior political reporter, writing for The Fix. Originally from Minnesota, he has also written on politics for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Hill newspaper. Follow him on Twitter @aaronblake.

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