Every living former president has urged Americans to get vaccinated in a new ad series – apart from Trump who is demanding credit for the vaccine

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama seen in an Ad Council public service announcement released March 11, 2021.

  • Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton, and Carter appeared in a vaccine PSA released early Thursday.
  • Trump didn’t take part in the campaign, though it’s not clear if he was asked.
  • He also issued a statement saying “I hope everyone remembers” the vaccine wouldn’t exist without him.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Every living former US president has appeared in an ad campaign telling Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, apart from Donald Trump, who has instead released a statement demanding credit for the vaccine.

On Thursday, the nonprofit Ad Council released a public service advertisement starring Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter.

“This vaccine means hope,” Obama said in the video. “It will protect you and those you love from this dangerous and deadly disease.”

Trump was noticeably absent, though it’s not clear if he was asked to join the campaign.

Hours before the campaign went live, however, Trump’s personal office in Florida released a statement in which he claimed responsibility for the vaccines’ existence.

“I hope everyone remembers when they’re getting the COVID-19 (often referred to as the China Virus) vaccine, that if I wasn’t president, you wouldn’t be getting that beautiful ‘shot’ for 5 years, at best, and probably wouldn’t be getting it at all. I hope everyone remembers!” he said, using a derogatory term for the novel coronavirus, which was first found in China.

When asked by Insider whether it had asked Trump to join the PSA, an Ad Council said the project with the former presidents started last December. The spokesperson did not say whether the Ad Council had approached Trump, who at the time was an outgoing president.

The spokesperson added that some of the ads were shot at President Joe Biden’s January 20 inauguration, which Trump did not attend, having flown to his resort in Palm Beach that morning.

Trump said last year he would get the vaccine, but did not say when, and did not say whether he would follow the likes of Biden and former Vice President Mike Pence and get his shot live on TV.

However, it was reported earlier this month that Trump and first lady Melania Trump quietly got the vaccine in the White House in January.

Trump vaccine Operation Warp Speed
President Donald Trump speaks during an “Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit” on the White House complex, December 8, 2020.

Trump has long claimed responsibility for securing a vaccine for the US, despite his Operation Warp Speed vaccine-development scheme deemed a failure that was beset with issues and widely criticized.

Members of the Biden administration has said that they inherited no coronavirus vaccine distribution plan from Trump White House, with a source telling CNN they had to “build everything from scratch.”

Days before Biden’s inauguration, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that Operation Warp Speed would continue in the Biden administration, but that there was an “urgent need to address the failures of the Trump team approach to vaccine distribution.”

Biden later called the vaccine rollout under Trump “a dismal failure.”

Trump missed his administration’s target of administering 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and Biden is aiming to administer 100 million doses of the vaccine in his first 100 days in office, or by April 30.

Biden’s plan appears to be on track and the vaccine rollout is well underway, prompting states like Texas and Mississippi to abandon mandatory mask wearing.

However, Biden said the move was premature and an example of “Neanderthal thinking.”

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Democratic presidents keep having to save the US economy after Republican presidents run it into the ground

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President Joe Biden greets former President Barack Obama for the inauguration of Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Since the 1990s, GOP presidents keep running the US economy into recessions.
  • And then Democratic presidents come in and save the economy.
  • Democrats should remind voters of this every chance they get.
  • Michael Gordon is a longtime Democratic strategist, a former spokesman for the Justice Department, and the principal for the strategic-communications firm Group Gordon.
  •  
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Repeat after me: The last three Republican presidencies ended in economic turmoil. And their Democratic successors had to clean up the mess. Voters need to be reminded – again and again – that putting Republicans in the White House puts our country in recession.

Republican recessions

It seems quaint compared to 2008 or our current crisis, but President George H. W. Bush ended his one term in office in recession. After what was then the longest period of peacetime economic expansion in US history, in July 1990 the country entered a recession that saw unemployment rise to a peak of 7.8% in June 1992.

His challenger Bill Clinton made the economic pain that families were feeling the mantra of his campaign and handily beat Bush, who came across as out of touch with working Americans.

One of Clinton’s first legislative achievements was an economic recovery bill that, among other things, put a greater tax burden on the wealthy and increased tax credits and wage subsidies for the working poor. As a result, during his eight years in office, Clinton oversaw economic growth that averaged 3.5% annual GDP growth but topped 4% throughout his second term. Unemployment fell from 7.4% to 3.9%, and the labor market added an average of 2.9 million jobs per year.

Cut to President George W. Bush and his policies that cut taxes for the rich, grew our national debt and trade deficit to record levels, left the US dollar severely weakened, decreased regulation of Wall Street, and ultimately helped bring about the Great Recession. 

The Great Recession was man-made, caused by reckless lending by financial institutions – not the result of the natural cycles of our economy. The devastation was – and continues to be – enormous, with America more unequal, less productive, and poorer because of the severity of the crisis.

President Barack Obama came to office needing to help bail out entire industries that our country runs on. The depth of the decline was the worst in 80 years, and the recovery Obama initiated was slow – but effective. 

After taking over in early 2017, former-President Donald Trump maintained the Obama recovery in some ways – but in other ways economic disparity grew deeper. Then, he treated the pandemic more like a political issue than a health issue, and the economy went into freefall on every metric. Millions of jobs were lost – some for good. Unemployment still sits at 6.7% despite some improvement in recent months, with communities of color hit hardest.

Now, as part of the promise of President Joe Biden, we will get through the pandemic and renew our economic strength in turn: another Democrat fixing a Republican mess.

Carter boomerang

Older voters will recall that President Jimmy Carter became the favorite Republican punching bag after his four years in office ended in economic calamity. So many negatives for the economy became associated with Carter – malaise, stagflation, the misery index – that Republicans held onto the White House for 12 years straight, the longest continuous streak in nearly 70 years. The fear of going back to the Carter years kept voters on edge and Republicans in power. 

But it’s been almost 50 years since Carter took office, and despite their superior record Democrats have failed to capitalize sufficiently on the economic strength they repeatedly ushered in and make it synonymous with their brand.

Much like the GOP did with Carter, Democrats need to make the Bushes and particularly Trump their punching bag for the next generation. The Democrats need to make it clear that they are the stewards of steady, strong economic growth and are always cleaning up after the GOP.

In most election years, voters think first about the economy and their own pocketbooks. That is the primary driver of most elections at most levels. Every Democrat needs to make the contrast in economic success their mantra – for the sake of the party and the country.

Repeat after me: The last three Republican presidencies ended in economic turmoil.

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Mitch McConnell announced he will get a COVID-19 vaccine ‘in the coming days,’ and Congress will be receiving a shipment of the vaccine

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gives the thumbs-up to the media after the Senate voted to confirm Betsy DeVos as education secretary on Capitol Hill on February 7, 2017 in Washington, D.C. The historic 51-50 vote was decided by a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.

  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he will receive the coronavirus vaccine “in the coming days” to boost public confidence in the shot.
  • “The only way to beat this pandemic is for us to follow the advice of our nation’s health care professionals: get vaccinated and continue to follow CDC guidelines,” McConnell said in the statement.
  • McConnell is the latest of a number of prominent politicians who are planning on receiving the vaccine to boost public confidence in the shot — including President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President Mike Pence, and former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he will receive the coronavirus shot “in the coming days” to demonstrate the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last Friday for emergency use – the first vaccine to be greenlighted in the US.

Shipments of the vaccine rolled out overnight on Sunday to be administered to frontline healthcare workers, and a number of prominent figures are volunteering to publicly receive the shot to boost public confidence in its safety.

In a statement released Thursday, McConnell said he was eligible to get the vaccine “because of government continuity requirements.”

Alongside frontline healthcare workers, Congress will also be among the first to get a shipment of the coronavirus vaccine, Politico reported.

“Vaccines for federal agencies and officials across Washington have been arriving at Walter Reed Medical Center in recent days,” according to the Politico report, “and thousands of doses are expected to be designated for the House and Senate, though congressional leadership offices said they have no information to provide.”

Capitol Physician Brian Monahan wrote in a letter to McConnell, obtained by Politico, that Capitol Hill will receive “a specific number of COVID 19 vaccine doses to meet longstanding requirements for continuity of government operations.” It was not immediately clear what other members of Congress will also get the vaccine alongside McConnell.

“The small number of COVID 19 vaccines we will be provided reflects a fraction of the first tranche of vaccines as it is distributed throughout the country,” Monahan continued, citing the Politico report.

McConnell said he was “disappointed to see early public sentiment that shows some hesitation towards receiving a vaccine,” citing data from an AP-NORC poll showing that a quarter of American adults are unsure if they will receive the vaccine.

“The only way to beat this pandemic is for us to follow the advice of our nation’s health care professionals: get vaccinated and continue to follow CDC guidelines,” McConnell said in the statement.

A polio survivor, the Republican senator from Kentucky said he understands “both the fear of a disease and the extraordinary promise of hope that vaccines bring” but hopes that Americans will accept the vaccine.

“Even with a vaccine, I will continue following CDC guidelines by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing my hands frequently,” McConnell said. “I would strongly encourage everyone to continue following these important guidelines. It is the only way we will defeat COVID-19 once and for all.”

Read more: Secret Service experts are speculating in group chats about how Trump might be hauled out of the White House if he won’t budge on Inauguration Day

McConnell is the latest of a number of prominent politicians who are planning on receiving the vaccine to boost public confidence in the shot that was produced in record timing.

Earlier this month, former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton volunteered to publicly receive the vaccine to show the vaccine is safe. President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence also followed suit earlier this week.

“I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take,” Biden told reporters Wednesday. “When I do it, I’ll do it publicly, so you can all witness my getting it done.”

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President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence are among a number of prominent political figures who will receive the coronavirus shot on television to boost public confidence in the vaccine

Pfizer Vaccine Transport
  • President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence are joining a number of other prominent political figures that will publicly receive the coronavirus shot to boost public confidence in its safety.
  • Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton also volunteered to get the vaccine on television as well.
  • The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week, and healthcare workers at the front lines across the country received the first doses of the vaccine this week.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A number of prominent political figures are getting the coronavirus shot on television in an effort to boost public confidence in the vaccine.

The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week, and first doses of the shot rolled out across the country overnight Sunday. Healthcare workers at the front lines were among the first to get the vaccine.

President-elect Joe Biden told reporters in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, that he plans on publicly getting the shot to show Americans that it is safe to take. CNN reported that the president-elect could get the vaccine early next week.

“I don’t want to get ahead of the line, but I want to make sure we demonstrate to the American people that it is safe to take,” Biden said. “When I do it, I’ll do it publicly, so you can all witness my getting it done.”

Vice President Mike Pence is also expected to get the coronavirus vaccine on camera Friday morning to help build “vaccine confidence,” Axios reported Wednesday. Second Lady Karen Pence and Surgeon General Jerome Adams will also join the vice president, according to the Axios report.

Biden and Pence are the latest to join a slew of politicians who are receiving the coronavirus vaccine to demonstrate its safety and efficacy. Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton previously volunteered to receive the vaccine on television as well.

“President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials,” Clinton press secretary Angel Urena told CNN earlier this month. “And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same.”

Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff, also told CNN that the former Republican president has been in touch with Fauci and White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx regarding the vaccine.

“A few weeks ago President Bush asked me to let Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx know that, when the time is right, he wants to do what he can to help encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated,” Ford said. “First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations.”

“Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera.”

During an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison, Obama said he “completely” trusts top US infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, and if Fauci “tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting COVID – absolutely, I’m going to take it.”

“I promise you that when it’s been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it,” Obama said. “I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting COVID.”

He added: “If you are in that category, if you are elderly, if you’ve got a preexisting condition, if you’re a frontline worker, if you’re a medical worker, if you are in a grocery store, if you’re a first responder, you should take that vaccine,” he said.

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