Former President Donald Trump has done a whole lot of harm to America over the last five years – most notably by stoking the false claim that the 2020 election was stolen.
But, earlier this week, he did something genuinely good. In an interview with conservative commentator Candace Owens, Trump not only rejected her claims that “more people have died” since the Covid-19 vaccine became available but also delivered a clear argument for people to get vaccinated.
“No, the vaccine worked,” Trump said. “But some people aren’t taking it. The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take their vaccine.” He added: “People aren’t dying when they take their vaccine.”
This is, of course, exactly right. Study after study has shown that three Covid-19 vaccine doses continue to do a very good job of protecting you from hospitalization and death – even from the Omicron variant that is sweeping the country.
But, it is also very important for Trump to state that fact because the numbers also show that not only are Republicans are far less likely to have been vaccinated than Democrats, but they are also less mindful of the risks the virus poses to them.
Now, it’s very much worth noting here that Trump could have been a more forceful public advocate for vaccines and boosters far earlier. And that by weaponizing the virus (as well as masking) for political gain, he bears at least some responsibility for the Republican refusers of the vaccine.
As CNN’s Zach Wolf noted earlier this month: “Blue states that voted for President Joe Biden are generally more than 60% vaccinated. Red states that went for former President Donald Trump are generally under that average.”
It’s not clear whether Trump defending vaccines is even enough to change the minds of some of his most ardent supporters. The former President was booed earlier this week when he acknowledged he had received a booster and the issue has, for many of the unvaccinated, been turned in a political matter rather than a public health one.
But, Trump still deserves some credit here – whatever his reasons for advocating for the vaccine. (I’d like to think it’s because he believes the science but The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman has a few other thoughts as well.)
The Point: For a man who has rarely done the right thing over the past few years, Trump deserves credit for doing exactly that here.