Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging former President Trump to use his popularity to persuade more of his followers to get the COVID vaccine, saying it would be a “game-changer” if he uses his “incredible influence” among Republicans, although Trump has already been vocal in doing this just two weeks ago during his first post-White House remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Appearing on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ host Chris Wallace pointed to a recent NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll that shows 47 percent of Republicans don’t plan to get one of the three federally approved coronavirus vaccines, with 49 percent of those being Republican men.
Fauci was asked “how much of a difference” would it make if Trump encouraged his supporters to get the vaccine jab.
“I think it would make all the difference in the world. He’s a very wildly popular person among Republicans,” Fauci responded. “If he came out and said go and get vaccinated… It seems absolutely inevitable that the vast majority of people who are his close followers would listen to him.”
“I just don’t get it, Chris, why they don’t want to get vaccinated,” Fauci added.
Wallace went on to show a public service announcement that features all living former presidents and their wives calling on Americans to get inoculated. However, the PSA doesn’t feature Trump, the only former president to have led the effort with Operation Warp Speed in cultivating the conditions for the creation of three vaccines in record time, that all his predecessors are touting in the ad.
The Fox News Host asked Fauci why does he believes Trump “didn’t participate in the PSA” while getting the COVID “vaccine in private.”
Despite Fauci urging Trump to call on his supporters to get the vaccine, the now-chief medical advisor to President Biden called the former president remaining silent an “intrinsic contradiction.”
“It’s puzzling to me I mean clearly Operation Warp Speeds started in the Trump administration. It was very successful in getting us the vaccines we have right now, it seems like an intrinsic contradiction,” Fauci said. “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, it would really be a game-changer if he did.”
However, Trump has already urged his supporters during his CPAC remarks late last month to get their COVID vaccine.
“In fact, the director of National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, he’s Fauci’s boss, actually, I think he’s a Democrat too, by the way, recently said that our Operation Warp Speed was absolutely breathtaking and that the Trump administration deserves full credit, which we do. And as conservatives and Republicans, never forget that we did it. Never let them take the credit because they don’t deserve the credit,” Trump said in his CPAC remarks in late February.
“They’re following our plan. Joe Biden is only implementing the plan that we put in place. And if we had an honest media, which we don’t, they would say it loud and clear. But remember, we took care of a lot of people, including, I guess on December 21st, we took care of Joe Biden. Cause he got his shot. He got his vaccine. He forgot. It shows you how un-painful all that vaccine shot is. So everybody go get your shot,” Trump added.
Days later, Fauci thought it was “very nice” that Trump encouraged his supporters at CPAC to get inoculated.
“I think that was very nice that he said that. I hope he continues to say that. He’s got a lot of influence,” Fauci said in an interview with Wired on March 4. “And I believe that if he tells people to get vaccinated, that will be very helpful.”
During the interview, Fauci said Trump has a “much greater influence” than he would in changing supporters at CPAC minds.
“I think that Donald Trump would have much, much greater influence on changing minds at CPAC than I would,” Fauci said.
More than 101 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the U.S. since Monday morning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine tracker.