Former U.S. president and first lady Donald and Melania Trump quietly received the Covid-19 vaccine at the White House in January, a Trump advisor told NBC News. It is not clear which type of vaccine they received and they were not disclosed at the time by the Trump White House.
Trump and his team failed to fully disclose the severity of the then-president’s coronavirus illness when he was hospitalized last fall, and as NBC News reported, they also failed to tell the public that Trump and his wife received vaccinations before the Republican’s term ended two months ago.
This was a secret that Trump didn’t need to keep.
On the surface, there’s no obvious reason for the former president to have kept such a thing under wraps. It doesn’t benefit him in any obvious way.
But just below the surface, the significance of this is even greater. As Rachel Maddow explained on the show last night, had Trump and his team disclosed his vaccination, it might very well have had significant public health consequences.
Remember, Trump politicized the pandemic to such an ugly and gratuitous extent that many Republicans are more skeptical than Democrats and independents about getting the shot(s). That was evident in the latest Civiqs poll, which found Democratic voters more than twice as likely as GOP voters to express interest in getting the vaccine, and it was bolstered by a recent Monmouth University poll, which found very similar results.
Or put another way, for everyone’s benefit, the United States needs the public to get vaccinated, but Republicans are among the nation’s most stubborn skeptics.
It is precisely why Mr. Trump — who, for reasons I don’t understand, is considered highly trustworthy and reliable among millions of GOP voters — was in a position to change the political calculus. Had he disclosed the extent of his illness in October, it might have helped remind his followers that COVID-19 was (and is) a potentially deadly threat that people need to take seriously, and had he disclosed his vaccination three months later, it might have helped encourage his followers to follow his lead.
If Trump had just been straight with people, telling the public the truth about his own personal experiences, it could have saved lives.
But he nevertheless maintained his habit of sharing information he should’ve kept secret, and keeping secret information he should’ve shared.