Something new to mark the one-year anniversary of The Day Everything Changed.
I know what you’re thinking after reading that headline: “Someone is missing.” Indeed he is.
But, to his credit, he’s been pro-vax lately in his public comments. Watch, then read on.
There are three groups that have been more reluctant than others in polling to say they’re prepared to get vaccinated. One is young adults, the second is African-Americans, the third is Republicans. I don’t know that any of the four “exes” here will persuade the first group — do young adults still care about, or even firmly remember, Obama? — but Barack’s and Michelle’s endorsement will hopefully carry some weight with fencesitters in the black community. As for Republicans, I’m skeptical that Dubya’s support will do much. He’s well-liked but the party has moved on from Bushism.
Which means it’s important for the missing man, the last GOP president and the most influential figure in the party, to publicly condone vaccinations in order to reach righty skeptics. And he’s doing that, in his own signature style. Just not in the ad.
He did it in his speech at CPAC too:
“We took care of a lot of people — including, I guess, on December 21st, we took care of Joe Biden, because he got his shot, he got his vaccine,” Trump said, before suggesting that Biden’s vaccination shows how few side effects come with the vaccine. “It shows you how unpainful that vaccine shot is.”
“So everybody, go get your shot,” Trump added.
And he put his money where his mouth is, reportedly getting his shot in January before leaving the White House — although that was a secret until recently, for reasons that escape me. It would have been nice if the PSA featured every living ex-president, but so long as every living ex-president is pushing the pro-vaccine message we can treat that as a win. Especially if the missing man can eventually be persuaded into cutting his own “get your shot” ad.
I’m curious, though: Was he *approached* to be in the video above and turned it down or was he simply not included in the process? Politico tried to find out and couldn’t get a straight answer:
Asked whether Donald Trump was invited to participate in the new videos, a spokesperson for the Ad Council reiterated that the project started last year and that one of the videos was filmed on Inauguration Day, when Trump was not in attendance.
“We just learned last week that President Trump did get vaccinated and were so pleased he advised Americans to ‘go get your shot,’” the spokesperson said in a statement.
Spokespeople for Trump’s post-presidential office did not immediately return a request for comment on the videos or whether he was offered an opportunity to appear in them.
NBC asked the White House whether they’ve reached out to Trump about getting him involved in promoting the vaccines and also received a non-answer from advisor Andy Slavitt: “We’re glad that everybody who has taken the vaccine is talking about it, including him.”
It has to be that he was offered the opportunity to appear in the ad and turned it down. It would be unthinkable, and unconscionable, for a PR effort aimed at promoting vaccine acceptance and saving many thousands of lives to turn down a spokesman with unique reach among a reluctant demographic due to personal or political objections. Which also explains why Slavitt and Politico’s sources are hesitant to blame Trump for not participating, I assume. They’re hoping he’ll eventually come around and join the effort, either in conjunction with the White House (highly unlikely) or freelance (more likely), and don’t want to alienate him by pointing fingers at him. Fox News should ask him to do a vaccine promo for the network and see what he says. That might do more to get vaccine skeptics to buy in than even today’s new PSAs will.