Ryan BortMon, March 1, 2021, 4:19 PM
Maggie Haberman of the New York Times reported the news on Monday, noting that Trump and Melania got the vaccine all the way back in January, when they were still living in the White House. The news is more than a little frustrating considering the impact a public show of faith in the safety of the vaccine could have had on his supporters, who as it turns out are disproportionately hesitant to inoculate themselves.
Earlier on Monday, Axios published a poll finding that a whopping 56 percent of white Republicans are unsure if they’ll get vaccinated against Covid, despite all three available or soon-to-be available vaccines having been determined safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration. The number far outpaces any other group sampled. Black Americans were the next-most hesitant at 31 percent.
Trump has an overlarge influence over Republican voters, 88-percent of whom, as he left office, approved of the (objectively terrible) job he did as president. Last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference only cemented the former president’s enduring control over conservative America, with several speakers placing him at the center of the GOP’s future. Trump did, during his headlining speech on Sunday, say that “everyone” should get vaccinated, but an offhand endorsement tucked into a 90-minute torrent of unrelated grievances pales in comparison to the message he could have sent by receiving the vaccine on camera.
Of course, Trump couldn’t care less about sending a message. He routinely mocked the idea of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of Covid-19, only doing so himself on rare occasions. His flippant attitude toward the virus undoubtedly inspired millions of Americans to disregard the safety of themselves and others, leading to untold cases, untold hospitalizations, and untold deaths that could have been prevented.
Still, it’s unclear exactly why Trump didn’t care to announce that he had been vaccinated in January. Maybe he understood that many of his supporters were anti-vaxxers and he didn’t want to betray them. Maybe he thought it would come across like he was giving into liberal propaganda. Maybe, as is the simple explanation for most of what confounds us about Trump, he’s just a huge asshole.