Certainly, Mr. Trump has done more than almost anyone to politicize the pandemic and minimize its dangers. His call for the vaccination at CPAC was less of a public service announcement than a boast, as he sought to remind the crowd that it was under his watch that the vaccines had been developed. “Some say this is the biggest thing that has happened in hundreds of years,” he proclaimed. Good. The development of the Covid vaccine has been a real wonder. In the past, vaccine development typically took at least four or five years. At the onset of the pandemic, talking about getting something approved for emergency use in less than a year seemed ridiculously optimistic.
Does Mr. Trump deserve all the accolades for this medical miracle? Of course not. But if he wants to claim a piece of the credit in exchange for bringing these new vaccines into the arms of his skeptical supporters, that seems like a reasonable deal.
More usefully, the day after Mr. Trump’s speech to CPAC, The Times broke the news that Mr. Trump and his wife had quietly been vaccinated in January. So the couple – who both had Covid-19 in the fall and therefore likely already have some level of natural immunity – have first-hand credibility on this issue.
The former president could lead a large public service campaign with several components: advertisements, interviews and, certainly, rallies. (The conservative Washington Examiner also pitches the “rally tour” idea.) There is nothing Donald Trump loves, and probably lacks, more than arenas filled with sweaty, screaming worshipers. As the vaccine ambassador, he could travel from Florida to North Dakota to Arizona, gathering crowds to cheer him on, buy a MAGA hat or two and, oh yeah, get a shot before to go home – get slapped in a Trump brand bandage. their injection sites.
If he wishes, Mr. Trump could invite other celebrities to join us. Kanye, maybe. Or, for a more explicitly conservative appeal, Ted Nugent, Kid Rock, Jon Voight, Gary Busey, Scott Baio, Sean Hannity. … That would mean sharing some of the limelight. But no matter who Mr. Trump appeared with, he would still be the biggest star on the scene. This is the ultimate win-win scenario. Mr. Trump gets his ego stroked while persuading his most dedicated followers to take the vaccination leap.
Some critics will likely object to Mr. Trump being able to remake his image in this way. But public health emergencies sometimes require unpleasant measures.
When it comes to involving Mr. Trump, someone just needs to make the case that this is such a worthy mission that they could finally award him the Nobel Prize.