The Trumps’ shameful lack of leadership in fighting vaccine hesitancy

An NPR poll found little differences in vaccine hesitancy between white, Black, and Latino groups.

Among those who responded to the survey, 73% of Black people and 70% of White people said that they either planned to get a coronavirus vaccine or had done so already; 25% of Black respondents and 28% of white respondents said they did not plan to get a shot. Latino respondents were slightly more likely to say they would not get vaccinated at 37%, compared with 63% who either had or intended to get a vaccine.

However, there were big differences between politically aligned groups.

Among Republican men, 49% said they did not plan to get the shot, compared with just 6% of Democratic men who said the same. Among those who said they supported President Trump in the 2020 election, 47% said they did not plan to get a coronavirus vaccine compared with just 10% of Biden supporters.

Similarly, compared with “big city” respondents, rural residents were more likely to say that they did not plan to take a coronavirus vaccine.

Many high-profile figures have publicly taken the vaccine in order to encourage others to do so. Donald and Melania Trump could also have done so in order to reduce hesitancy. But not only was Trump the only living ex-president to not appear in an ad touting the benefits of taking the vaccine, it appears that he and Melania quietly got their vaccine even before they left the White House, and that fact was only revealed much later.

Former President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump quietly received the Covid-19 vaccine at the White House in January, a Trump advisor told NBC News on Monday.

It is not clear which type of vaccine they received and they were not disclosed at the time by the Trump White House. The official White House photographer was also not present to document the event, according to an official with direct knowledge.

Often it is the little things that tell us a lot about a person’s character. If someone does even a quiet act of kindness to someone they do not know and who is in no position to return the favor, that tells us more about that person than some big public act of charity. Similarly, someone who seems to delight in petty acts of rudeness, meanness, and cruelty reveals their true nature. When it comes to Trump, there are more than enough things that he has said and done publicly that show us that the man really has no redeeming features. But the news that he and Melania Trump quietly got the covid-19 vaccine before they left the White House while doing nothing to encourage others to get it simply adds to the weight of evidence, if one needed any, that they are both truly awful people.

Anthony Fauci urged Trump to speak out in favor of getting vaccinated in order to induce his supporters to take it too.

Asked by [Chris] Wallace what could be done to combat vaccine skepticism in the U.S., particularly among Republicans, Fauci urged Trump to tell his supporters to get vaccinated.

“It would be very helpful for the effort for that to happen. I’m very surprised by the number of Republicans who say they won’t get vaccinated,” he said.

“I think it would make all the difference in the world” if Trump were to express support for vaccines, Fauci said. “He’s a widely popular person among Republicans.”

“I just don’t get it, Chris, why they don’t want to get vaccinated,” he added.

During a separate appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Fauci said it’s “disturbing” that Trump voters are choosing to not get vaccinated.

“We’ve got to dissociate political persuasion from commonsense, no-brainer public health things,” he said.

“[Vaccines have] rescued us from smallpox, from polio, from measles,” he added. “What is the problem here?”

The problem is that Trump and the Republican leadership have firmly hitched their wagons to the anti-vaccine, anti-science segments of the population and they can’t go back now. I didn’t think Trump would do whaat Fauci urged because he does not care if his cult followers suffer and does not want them to know that he had abandoned them in their delusions that vaccines and masks are a form of tyranny He is safe and that is all that matters to him.

But in an interview with Fox News Trump fan Maria Bartiromo, Trump did say that people should get vaccinated but was less that emphatic, saying that he understood why some of his followers may not want to. I think he is torn because he also wants credit for the development of the vaccine while not wanting to alienate his cult. But his early skepticism of covid and his dismissal of common-sense precautions now has resulted in his followers dismissing his call to get vaccinated, even calling him a “liberal New Yorker” and saying, “Why would we listen to him either?”

Republicans are much more likely to say they do not believe the virus is dangerous and that they will not get vaccinated. About 25% of the members of the House of Representatives are refusing to get vaccinated. There is no breakdown by party but one would not be surprised if most of them are Republicans.

“I won’t be taking it. The survival rate is too high for me to want it,” 25-year-old freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., told Axios in December.

But the refusal has not been limited to young legislators.

“It is my choice,” 62-year-old Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, told Fox Business in December, arguing that he was more concerned about the safety of the clinically-tested vaccine than about a highly contagious virus that has killed more than a half-million Americans in the last year. “I have the freedom to decide if I’m going to take a vaccine or not and in this case I am not going to take the vaccine.”

Some Republican lawmakers, like Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, have actively discouraged members of Congress from getting vaccinated, while conservative media pundits like Fox News host Tucker Carlson have promoted vaccine skepticism for weeks.

As an aside, how did Melania get the vaccine so early? She would not have qualified by age and is not known to have any health factors that would justify priority. The only possible justification for some people to jump the queue is if they are high-profile and they who do it as part of a public relations effort to promote vaccination. If she had publicly got it to encourage others to do so, that is one thing. But getting it quietly means that she is as selfish a person as her terrible, awful, no-good husband.


  1. Bruce says

    A surfer does not control the wave. Trump knows he cannot control his “followers”, and to try would merely reveal the truth that his influence is expiring. All talk of him in 2024 is just his attempt to get money.

  2. Matt G says

    Tens of millions of Americans motivated by hatred and spitefulness. And willing to do ANYTHING to “own the libs.”

  3. file thirteen says

    “I could advise my followers and in doing so save thousands of lives, but what’s in it for me?”

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