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Budowsky: Trump should champion vaccines

The Hill logo The Hill 3/17/2021 Brent Budowsky, opinion contributor
Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: Former President Donald Trump © Getty Images Former President Donald Trump

Former President Trump should champion vaccines for all Americans to protect them, and those they love, and their neighbors and friends, and those they pray with, from dying from the deadly COVID-19 virus!

No single issue is more important to Americans and people throughout the world than succeeding in mass vaccinations to end the mass carnage and mass death caused by COVID-19, and end the mass destruction of jobs, prosperity and a normal and decent way of life that the murderous virus destroys.

There are two large groups that are most resistant to vaccines. The first includes Republicans and others who favor Trump, the second includes African Americans and some other minority group members. I commend to your attention a thoughtful story on the front page of The New York Times on Tuesday that discusses this challenge at length, quoting sources including Anthony Fauci, Republican strategist Frank Luntz and the COVID Collaborative, a bipartisan group of political and scientific leaders advocating vaccine education.

America and the world need one of the largest public education and advocacy campaigns in history bringing together diverse political, religious, community, scientific, sports, urban, rural and entertainment figures - for which every media organization should offer free public service advertising time and space in the World War II spirit of "we are in this together."

If Trump goes all-out to champion vaccines he would save many lives, especially those of his supporters who take his advice and take the vaccines. I will not use this moment to criticize what Trump did and didn't do on the virus. If he does champion vaccines, he could accurately say that one thing he did right was direct major effort to funding companies that invented the vaccine and speak personally, not politically.

Trump could say that medications he took when he was diagnosed with COVID-19 saved his life, and he wants to save countless lives, and countless jobs, for those who take the vaccines. Other voices could say the same thing from their experience, whether they are athletes or religious leaders or workers who lost their jobs because of the virus and returned to their jobs after they were cured.

Under President Biden there has been enormous progress distributing the vaccines that have created major progress in the war against COVID-19 and opened the door to reopening and reviving our economy.

But make no mistake: There is continuing danger as states and people succumb to the understandable human and political temptation to open things up a little too soon and a little too fast. This creates some imminent danger of another wave of infections from an aggressive virus that will never surrender until it is defeated by the ultimate weapon in the arsenal of humanity: the vaccine.

Indescribably great progress has been made in the last several months. If the next tier of progress for vaccinating Americans continues on course, which it probably will, the economy will soar with progress and life for Americans will get remarkably better.

The defining moment, in my view, was the licensing agreement under Biden between two great competitive companies, Johnson & Johnson and Merck, that allowed mass production of desperately needed vaccines. More such licensing deals are in the works.

Recently former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama joined forces to champion vaccinations. If the fifth former president, Donald Trump, joins them - alongside religious leaders, superstar athletes, farm group leaders, entertainment stars, civil rights advocates, heroic nurses, family doctors and citizen workers - the sky is the limit for our future!

Countless people will stop dying needlessly. They will live. Countless workers will stop being jobless. They will work. Countless families will stop being separated. They will re-unite. Countless nightmares will end. New dreams will be born. Lovers will celebrate. Spirits will soar. Families will gather. Children will learn. Communities will rejoice. America will rise. The world will benefit.

This is our generational moment. Join us, Donald Trump. You will not regret it.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.


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