Former President Donald Trump said in an interview Tuesday that he would recommend that everyone get Covid-19 vaccine shots — a significant discourse shift as Republicans express skepticism about getting them.
“I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” Trump said on Fox News, praising what he called “a great vaccine.”
“But you know, again, we have our freedoms, and we have to live by that, and I agree with that also,” he added.
Recent polls suggest that the largest group of Americans either hesitant about the Covid-19 vaccines or outright opposed to them are Republicans, and efforts to reach them are only in their infancy. A recent NPR/PBS/Marist poll found that 47 percent of Trump voters and 41 percent of Republicans said they will not get the vaccines when they are made available.
Trump’s remarks came after it was revealed this month that he and former first lady Melania Trump were quietly vaccinated at the White House in January. It is not clear which vaccine they received, as it was not disclosed at the time by the Trump White House. The official White House photographer also was not present to document the event.
Trump, whose administration was criticized for its vaccine rollout plan, boasted during a speech in February at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he pushed officials to get the vaccines developed under Operation Warp Speed. He also urged attendees to get vaccinated, even though he did not disclose that he had been.
Four of Trump’s predecessors, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have received their shots in public, along with each of their wives.
Dartunorro Clark is a political reporter for NBC News.