The delta variant is spreading fast in the U.S., resulting in more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 every hour. According to reports, more than 90% of coronavirus-related deaths occurring right now are among unvaccinated people. Despite warnings of the deadly threat the coronavirus still poses, misinformation is being credited for why some people refuse to be vaccinated.
But while evidence points to the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories deterring people from being vaccinated, some individuals insist that people are not being vaccinated due to the lack of credit given to former President Donald Trump. During a news conference on July 19, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki rebuked this comment, noting that no evidence is tied to the notion that people are not getting vaccinated because Trump is not being credited.
"You're drawing a few conclusions there that I haven't seen in data," Psaki replied. The question was on whether the Biden administration would credit Trump more for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in order to help increase the vaccination rate among hesitant people. According to the reporter who asked, a majority of unvaccinated people identify as Trump supporters.
The question came from Fox News reporter Peter Doocy. Maybe Doocy has forgotten, but Fox News has been one of the leading forces of spreading COVID-19 misinformation since the start of the pandemic. It’s probably a more effective strategy for him to encourage the news outlet he is affiliated with to stop spreading lies than to involve Trump in the efforts to vaccinate people.
Additionally, Trump and his administration spent their entire term of office during the pandemic downplaying COVID-19. To credit Trump for his vaccine rollout sounds like a joke given the language he used to describe the virus, his reluctance to wear a mask, and his inability to order enough vaccines amongst many other factors.
As Psaki strongly said, there is no evidence that these people are not getting vaccinated because they want Trump to have more credit— the evidence instead points at the misinformation and conspiracy theories Trump and his friends have made.
Psaki noted the conspiracy theory that microchips are in the vaccine, a common rumor that has been spread amongst Republican voters.
While Psaki said the Biden administration will not reach out to Trump for help on vaccine outreach, she noted that the administration welcomes anyone to promote getting vaccinated. Trump she said shouldn’t need "an embroidered invitation" to do so.
"We've seen almost every former president play a role in putting out a PSA making sure people understood in the country that the vaccine is safe and effective," Psaki said."We don't believe that requires an embroidered invitation to be a part of. But certainly, any role of anyone who has a platform where they can provide information to the public that the vaccine is safe, it is effective, we don't see this as a political issue. We'd certainly welcome that engagement."
The reality is if Trump truly cared for his supporters who are victims of the consistent misinformation he and his minions have spread, he doesn’t need to be given credit to make a difference. He can encourage them to get the vaccine, but he doesn’t care. Even though thousands were dying daily and he himself got COVID-19, Trump as president still continued to tell his supporters that the virus was not a big deal—why would he change that narrative now?
Trump still refuses to take responsibility for his actions and the role his administration has played in the spread of COVID-19. Even with evidence that his supporters are less likely than others to get vaccinated, Trump won’t do anything—he will continue to blame fake news and the election results. "People are refusing to take the Vaccine because they don't trust his Administration, they don't trust the Election results, and they certainly don't trust the Fake News, which is refusing to tell the Truth," he said Sunday.
Let’s be real, giving him the credit and clout he wants won’t make a difference. Trump can only do more damage than good and doesn’t care about his supporters enough to debunk the very myths he has spread.