White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Monday offered rare praise for former President Donald Trump, who over the weekend urged his supporters to get vaccinated.
But she acknowledged that Mr. Trump being booed by supporters for encouraging vaccinations shows just how deep skepticism can be among Americans.
“I think it’s just a recognition, and we are very clear-eyed about that, there are still people who are skeptical out there in the country, that there are still people who, whether because of misinformation or a range of factors, are not yet getting vaccinated — even though it could save their lives,” Ms. Psaki said when asked about Mr. Trump being booed.
“It means we still have more work to do, and we are committed to doing exactly that,” she continued.
At a Saturday rally in Alabama, a group of Trump supporters jeered when he said, “I recommend taking the vaccines.”
“I believe totally in your freedoms,” Mr. Trump told the crowd. “I do, you’re free, you got to do what you have to do. But I recommend taking the vaccines. I did it. It’s good. Take the vaccines.”
Still, Ms. Psaki said she appreciated Mr. Trump’s effort to encourage vaccines.
“We will take anyone who has a big platform out there who wants to encourage people to get vaccinated,” she said at a White House press briefing. “That’s a good thing.”
Mr. Trump is among a growing number of Republican officials and lawmakers who have become more aggressive in pushing for vaccines. Some, including Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, blamed the surging COVID-19 infections on the unvaccinated.