Former president Donald Trump and Melania Trump received the Covid-19 vaccine before leaving the White House in January, according to multiple reports on Monday. However, unlike other high-profile officials like Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and the former vice-president Mike Pence, the former first couple preferred to keep it a secret.
Citing unnamed advisers, the New York Times was the first to report that the Trumps received their vaccine doses long before they left the White House on January 20. However, it is still clear which vaccine or how many doses Trump and Melania received and what was the reason for keeping it a secret.
No More a Secret
The revelation comes after Trump urged his followers to take the coronavirus vaccine shot during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, on Sunday. The former President said, "How unpainful that vaccine shot is, so everybody go get your shot."
This made reporters present at the rally to ask questions if he had taken his shot. Although Trump didn't say anything, reports started emerging on Monday that he along with the former first lady were administered their Covid-19 vaccine jab long before leaving the White House.
Both Trump and Melania contracted and recovered from Covid-19 during the 2020 presidential campaign. At that time Trump was quite hesitant about taking the vaccine although it was still awaiting the FDA approval.
However, it is still not known why Trump and Melania tried to keep it a secret. Also, it's still unclear if Ivanka and Jared Kushner also received the vaccine.
Changing His Mind
Trump's decision to keep his vaccine dose a secret hasn't gone down well with many, with some now calling him "pathetic till the end." Long before the Covid-19 outbreak, Trump helped fuel the anti-vaccination movement in the United States, by tweeting conspiratorial claims and questioning scientists.
"Ithink the vaccines can be very dangerous. And, obviously, you know, a lot of people are talking about vaccines with children with respect to autism," he had said in 2009, according to the New York Times. According to Axios, white Republicans have polled as highly vaccine hesitant. And Trump definitely was leading them from the front.
According to CNN, a White House aide had said in December that Trump wouldn't be given the Covid-19 vaccine till it was recommended by his medical team as he was still receiving the benefits of the monoclonal antibody cocktail he was given when he and Melania had tested positive for the virus.
Trump's decision to quietly receive the vaccine, without public fanfare, is in sharp contrast to his successor and predecessors. Both Biden and Harris took the vaccine which was aired live on television in December. Also, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton volunteered in December to get their Covid-19 vaccines in front of the public, so that they feel confident and safe about taking the vaccine.
Interestingly, despite his silence until now on having been administered the vaccine, Trump has not hesitated to take credit for the rollout. "Never let them forget this was us. We did this," he said at CPAC.