CNN’s Jake Tapper questioned retired Adm. Brett Giroir on Monday over former President Donald Trump’s role in encouraging people to take the coronavirus vaccine.
During the broadcast of his show “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” Tapper was interviewing Giroir, the former Trump testing czar, when he mentioned a poll showing a high number of Republicans intended not to take the vaccine. Tapper noted that Trump getting involved could be “saving the lives of MAGA supporters,” since he holds “a lot of influence over that group.” (RELATED: ‘Thank God For The Genius Of The Trump Administration’: Sen. Tim Scott Blasts Biden For Taking Credit On Vaccine Rollout)
“In a CNN poll 46% of Republicans say they will not try to get a vaccine, and obviously there’s one person with a lot of influence over that group, former President Trump,” Tapper began. “Do you think he should be actively encouraging his followers to get the vaccines that were developed under his own administration, under the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed?”
Giroir responded by saying, “of course, the answer is yes.” He then said “it’s very important” for Trump, as well as former Vice President Mike Pence, to “actively encourage” all of their “followers” to be vaccinated. “This is something that the Trump Administration developed under its time, and I think all of the above, including the former president speaking out, would be very important,” he added.
“So that’s why it’s so confusing because we’re talking about saving the lives of MAGA supporters, not just fellow Americans, but specifically people that he has reach to,” Tapper said. “Was it a mistake for him, President Trump, to get vaccinated secretly behind closed doors instead of doing so publicly? Did you know about it at the time? Do you know why the decision was made to keep it secret?”
Giroir claimed he was unaware Trump took the vaccine until it was reported in the news, but said he was “hesitant” to judge the “private medical decisions” of people. He added that now is the time for everyone to come together and “urge every American” to take the vaccine.
“We’re doing a great job getting vaccines in arms, and I want to commend the Biden administration for their building on the program, but we do need to focus on the vaccine hesitant, which you pointed out, as well as the underserved and minority communities,” he concluded.
The CNN poll was released on Mar. 11 and showed a large disparity between Democrats and Republicans in their intention to get the vaccine. A separate NPR, PBS and Marist poll, also released on Mar. 11, found similar skepticism of the vaccine amongst Trump supporters.
Many have recognized the influence Trump has over his supporters, including President Joe Biden, who reportedly considered asking Trump to encourage his supporters to be vaccinated. Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that “it would make all the difference in the world” if Trump joined in on the call for all Americans to take the vaccine.