Dr. Fauci called, former President Trump answered. After a recent poll showed that nearly half of Republican men don't plan on getting a COVID shot, the nation's most well-known infectious diseases expert made a public plea over the weekend to Trump, asking him to tell his supporters it would be a good idea to get vaccinated. "It would be very helpful for the effort for that to happen," Fauci, once part of Trump's coronavirus task force and now President Biden's chief medical adviser, told CBS News on Sunday. Whether it was because he heard Fauci's appeal or felt motivated to do it on his own, Trump called in to Maria Bartiromo's show on Fox News on Tuesday evening and did his part. "I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly," he said on the call, per Bloomberg.
"It's a great vaccine, it's a safe vaccine, and it's something that works," he added. Trump did throw in a caveat, noting, "But you know again, we have our freedoms, and we have to live by that, and I agree with that also." Although Trump and spouse Melania didn't take part in a recent ad campaign that featured the other four surviving ex-presidents and their spouses urging Americans to get the vaccine, the New York Times notes he did tell the crowd at CPAC last month that "everyone should go get your shot." An adviser told CNN earlier this month that Trump and Melania, who've both had COVID, were quietly vaccinated themselves in January. Per the Times, when Biden was asked Monday how important it would be for Trump to push vaccination, he noted his "team" said that "the thing that has 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." (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)