President Biden argued Monday that “local preachers” and other community leaders will be more influential than Donald Trump in efforts to convince “MAGA folks” who are skeptical of COVID-19 vaccines to get inoculated.
As he left the stage following a press conference on the implementation of his $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan,” Biden was asked to comment on whether he felt Trump “should help to promote the vaccine among skeptics.” In response, the president said he was “hearing a lot of reports” in support of that viewpoint, but his team downplayed the importance of Trump’s involvement.
“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 preacher, what the local people in the community say,” Biden said. “So I urge all local docs and ministers and priests to talk about why, why it’s important to get that vaccine and even after that, until everyone is, in fact, vaccinated, to wear this mask.”
The Biden administration set a goal of administering 100 million vaccine shots within the president’s first 100 days in office. As of Monday, more than 92 million doses were administered, according to CDC data.
Biden’s remarks on Trump’s potential involvement in outreach efforts came days after Dr. Anthony Fauci publicly appealed to the former president to urge his supporters to get vaccinated. A recent PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll found 41% of Republicans did not plan to get vaccinated.
“If he came out and said, ‘Go and get vaccinated. It’s really important for your health, the health of your family and the health of the country,’ it seems absolutely inevitable that the vast majority of people who are his close followers would listen to him,” Fauci said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”
Trump was vaccinated in January prior to leaving office. While Trump did not appear alongside other past presidents in a recent public service campaign on the vaccination drive, he did urge the public to get vaccinated during his speech at CPAC last month.
“Everybody, go get your shot,” Trump said at the event.