President Joe Biden urged local pastors and priests on Monday to promote the coronavirus vaccines to skeptical supporters of former President Donald Trump.
During a White House event on coronavirus relief, Biden was asked by a reporter how to get more Republicans and supporters of President Trump to get vaccinated.
“I urge all local docs, and ministers and priests to talk about why, why it’s important to get that vaccine, and even after that until everyone is in fact vaccinated to wear this mask,” Biden said.
Biden said he discussed the issue of Republicans remaining unwilling to get the coronavirus vaccines with his staff.
“They say the thing that has even more impact than anything Trump would say to the MAGA folks is what the local doctor, what the local preachers, what the local people in the community say,” he said.
An NPR/PBS/Marist poll released Thursday showed 41 percent of Republicans had not received the vaccine or would get it.
President Trump briefly told his supporters “go get your shot” during his speech at CPAC in February.
The White House has resisted the idea of publicly reaching out to Trump to help promote the vaccines, even after an ad featuring all the other living presidents was released Friday.
“If former President Trump woke up tomorrow, and wanted to be more vocal … certainly we’d support that,” Psaki replied during the White House press briefing when asked if Biden wanted Trump to help promote the vaccines.
Biden previously expressed doubts about the coronavirus vaccines during the presidential campaign, when they were being developed under President Trump.
“People don’t believe that he is telling the truth,” Biden said when asked about the safety of the vaccines in August 2020. “Therefore, they’re not at all certain they’re going to take the vaccine.”
Biden also expressed concern the vaccines developed under Trump would “not likely go through all the tests and the trials that are needed to be done.”