Trump's surgeon general suggests the former president only decided to publicly back vaccines because Biden praised him first

Trump's surgeon general suggests the former president only decided to publicly back vaccines because Biden praised him first
Jerome Adams was the surgeon general under former President Donald Trump.Alex Brandon/AP
  • Trump endorsed coronavirus vaccines this week, saying they protect people and don't kill anyone.
  • Jerome Adams, his surgeon general, suggested he waited to say this until Biden praised him.

Former President Donald Trump's surgeon general implied that Trump waited to express public support for coronavirus vaccines until President Joe Biden praised his involvement in them.

Jerome Adams, who served as surgeon general under Trump, told CNN's "AC360" on Thursday that he was surprised Biden hadn't praised Trump over the vaccines earlier. He suggested Trump had been waiting to back the vaccines until he got the mention.

"We know the president's love language is words of affirmation. We know Joe Biden is known for his cooperation," Adams said.

"So, to me, what was most shocking, what was most telling, wasn't that Donald Trump came out and supported vaccines — it was that it took Joe Biden 11 months to finally do what he has been known to do for 79 years, and that's to reach out across the aisle.

"Once he gave President Trump those words of affirmation, you heard President Trump come out and say, 'Thank you, I appreciate that.' And he applauded it. And I hope we see more of that."


John Berman, the CNN host, seemed surprised by Adams' comments on the Thursday show.

He said: "Come on, Dr. Adams. I mean — are you are telling me that Donald Trump didn't praise vaccines or boosters until Joe Biden decided to thank him for the vaccines? That's what he was waiting for?"

Adams responded, after saying he'd studied psychiatry and psychology: "People have different words of affirmation, different love languages. That's the truth.

"That is when you saw Donald Trump change his tune. I'm not saying it's right. I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm saying you can't deny that that is when he changed his tune and came out and supported vaccinations.

"And regardless, that's a good thing."


Biden said on Tuesday, "Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America was one of the first countries to get the vaccine."

Though Trump has sent mixed messages over his support for the coronavirus vaccine, he gave the vaccine his strongest endorsement yet in an interview with the conservative commentator Candace Owens that was published on Wednesday.

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

"But it's still their choice, and if you take the vaccine, you're protected," he continued. "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 the vaccine."

While he was president, Trump sought praise for the vaccines being developed and got vaccinated himself.


But much of his base is against the vaccine, and he notably didn't get vaccinated in public, despite many other politicians doing so.

He was booed by a crowd of his own supporters on Sunday when he announced that he supported vaccines and had received a booster shot.