Jen Psaki praises Trump, says 'we are grateful' for his touting the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines

Jen Psaki praises Trump, says 'we are grateful' for his touting the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House December 23, 2021.Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki endorsed Trump's recent promotion of vaccines.
  • "Just going to echo former President Trump here on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines," Psaki tweeted.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Thursday endorsed former President Donald Trump's recent promotion of COVID-19 vaccines.

"Just going to echo former President Trump here on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines. Merry Christmas eve eve. go get boosted," Psaki said in a tweet.

Trump in a new interview with the conservative commentator Candace Owens called the vaccine "one of the greatest achievements of mankind." Psaki's tweet responded to a clip from the interview.

The former president's administration injected billions of dollars into Operation Warp Speed to help expedite the development of the vaccine. Typically it can take several years to develop a vaccine. But the Food and Drug Administration authorized the Moderna and BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines for emergency use in December 2020 — less than a year after COVID-19 was first detected in the US.

Trump has repeatedly taken credit for the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines. "I came up with a vaccine, with three vaccines, all are very, very good," the former president told Owens, who's publicly opposed getting vaccinated.


As Owens expressed skepticism over the vaccine, Trump pushed back.

"The vaccine worked. But some people aren't taking it," Trump said. "The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don't take their vaccine."

"If you take the vaccine, you're protected," he added. "Look, the results of the vaccine are very good. And if you do get it, it's a very minor form. People aren't dying when they take their vaccine."

Close to 62% of the US population is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many Americans, particularly Republicans, continue to refuse to get the vaccine despite the wide body of evidence that it's safe and effective. Trump, who typically commands immense loyalty among Republicans, was booed by his own supporters on Sunday after revealing he'd received a booster shot and encouraging vaccination.

Psaki on Thursday also expressed appreciation toward the former president's remarks during a White House press briefing.


"We are grateful that the former president got the booster. We're also grateful that he made clear in a recent interview that they're effective and they're safe. And that's an important message for anyone to hear. This is not a partisan issue. This is about saving lives, communicating accurate information, pushing back against inaccurate information. And in this particular case, the former president did that," she said.

During a speech on Tuesday, President Joe Biden offered credit to the Trump administration over the development of the vaccine. Trump, who has still not publicly acknowledged that he was fairly defeated by Biden in 2020, subsequently told Fox News that he was "very appreciative" of Biden's words.

"I think it was a terrific thing, and I think it makes a lot of people happy," Trump said.

Psaki was asked on Thursday whether the White House would consider teaming up with Trump on vaccine messaging.

"I don't know that we think it requires a partnership. I think we believe that the former president being out there, stating what is factually accurate about the efficacy of vaccines, of getting boosted, which he recently did of course, is a good thing," she responded.