Trump To The Patriotic Pro-Vaccine Rescue? Of Course Not. And Try As I Might, I Can’t Blame Him


I have now read many articles, almost all of them from pundits who for five years heaped the most abusive rhetoric on the previous President of the United States that any POTUS has had to endure, that Donald Trump should join President Biden, or Barack Obama, or even George W. Bush for a national, joint appeal to the vaccinated to do the right thing for their nation, swallow their fears, and get their shots. Writes one Trump-detesting letter writer to the Times this morning (well, the odds are high that anyone who writes to the Times is Trump-detesting”) who imagines an Obama-Trump Kumbaya PSA spot where a smiling Trump sits next to Barack and says, “We hardly agree on anything , but we do agree on one thing: You should get the Covid vaccine now!” “It just takes two grown men to do it!” the saddened patriot concludes.

Sure, in a vacuum, this fantasy seems reasonable. In reality, it can never happen, and I find myself gravitating to an unethical position that says that if Democrats like Biden and Obama, or Bush, really want Trump to join with them on anything but especially this, they should have to pay a large, painful and probably unpalatable price.

In 1962, Darryl F. Zanuck bet his personal fortune and the studio he had just purchased on the success of “The Longest Day,” then the most expensive black and white movie ever made. He regarded the movie’s grand account of D-Day a patriotic imperative, and was able to persuade a huge cast of international stars as well as three directors to do the film at industry minimum salaries. He was risking everything including his career on the movie, and realized that it was missing an indispensable element: John Wayne. Not only had Wayne been Hollywood’s most durable and dependable box office star for two decades, he had also been the face of the American fighting man in over a dozen films during World War II. Zanuck had a big part for the Duke in the ensemble film, and knew it would lack credibility and authenticity without him.

But Zanuck, in a moment of pettiness, cruelty and schadenfreude, had publicly mocked Wayne when his own patriotic project of passion,”The Alamo,” had been a financial failure the year before. Wayne had lost much of his own wealth on the film, which he produced and directed, and deeply resented Zanuck’s cheap shot at him when he was down. So when the mogul called to ask him to be in “The Longest Day,”, Wayne told him (I’m paraphrasing), “Sure, I’ll do your film as my patriotic duty! And you can pay me $250,000 [that was ten times what any other star was getting], as well as giving me special billing in the credits [the stars other than Wayne were listed alphabetically.] Zanuck, knowing when he was beaten, agreed, and perhaps learned a lesson.

There is no chance, none, that Donald Trump would humble himself to join with Bush, Biden, or Obama in a vaccination appeal, nor Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi and Don Lemon either These are people who were relentlessly vicious, dishonest, unfair, disrespectful and, yes, unpatriotic in their treatment of Trump from the moment he was elected. The “good of the nation” wasn’t on their minds: revenge and raw power was. They, or those taking cues from them, condemned Trump as a racist, as Hitler, as a madman—and now because they have to deal with a pandemic that they weaponized to defeat him, he should graciously do their bidding? That would be too much for me to accept, and I’m an ethicist. For Trump, who lacks two ethics to rub together, the idea is unimaginable; in fact, I suspect it’s only being floated to find some way to shift a bit of responsibility to him as Democrats founder in the environment of distrust and skepticism they fostered. As my best and oldest friend has colorfully said in the past, “There is some shit I won’t eat.”

The only way Donald Trump would, or, frankly should become involved in the pro-vaccine efforts is on his own terms. He recruits Obama, Biden and Bush, and spearheads the effort with their profuse and public gratitude. He requires as a condition precedent their personal and public apologies for their past conduct and rhetoric, including refusing to credit his administration with the rapid development of the vaccine. He plays the central role in any videos, and when the time comes, he calls the virus the Wuhan Virus, which it was and is. That would be enough for me if I were Trump, but of course, since Trump is Trump, he would probably also demand an admission that the election was stolen and a promise to stop the kangaroo hearings on the January 6 riot, among other requirements.

So it’s not going to happen, but make no mistake: the reason it cannot happen is because Democratic leaders didn’t observe a rule of life that Darryl F. Zanuck learned the hard way.

Don’t burn bridges. You never know when you might need them.

15 thoughts on “Trump To The Patriotic Pro-Vaccine Rescue? Of Course Not. And Try As I Might, I Can’t Blame Him

  1. This incident perfectly illustrates the pragmatic reasons why Presidents should never: 1) bad-mouth their predecessors; and 2) bad-mouth their successors.


      • Like P.L. Travers wrote about Mary Poppins, Trump is the Great Exception. However, instead of having the ability to do miraculous things and access marvelous places, in his case it just means the fundamental decencies, courtesies, empathies, and kindnesses that would apply to almost any other human don’t apply to him. I can name more historical villains than most, who might be entitled to not much more than due process and humane treatment while incarcerated. All of them were worse than Trump, who never acted like a tyrant (Stalin), never tortured anyone (Vlad Tepes), never murdered anyone (Hitler), and never handled a crisis so blindingly stupidly that it became a de facto massacre (Mao). Yet to the current left, he’s worse than all of them, and why? Because he dared not to play their game and took away, or maybe just delayed, their chance to rule permanently.

  2. The democrats are currently running around calling Trump, Trump supporters and the entirety of the Republican Party “enemies of the state”. Why should anyone who is a Republican or Trump supporter support anything the left wants? As far as I’m concerned, they can all just go do anatomically impossible things to themselves.

    What effect do they really think something like this would actually have, anyways? Do they really think Trump supporters are all sheep who’s only possible reason for not having gotten the vaccine is that Trump has not told them to? I know they say that is what they think, but I know they don’t really believe that. They just like to be as insulting as they possibly can, which is not very helpful for convincing anyone to do anything.

    Personally, I don’t care if Trump actually comes to my house and personally beseeches me to get vaccinated. I’m not taking the vaccine, and they cannot make me. I have far more worries about the ramifications of the vaccine than I do about the virus. The virus has about a 0.04% chance of killing someone in my age group. I have no idea what that vaccine is going to do because the “experts” and media have been lying through their teeth about it, covering up any honest reporting, and censoring anyone and everyone that doesn’t tow the leftist party line. If you have to spend that much time and effort covering the truth up, the truth probably isn’t good. Trump is neither a doctor nor a scientist, and his opinion on the subject does not interest me.

      • Mindless sheep would have voted for Jeb! like they were told to do. The left’s (and many on the right’s) entire problem with Trump supporters is that they did not do what they were told to do. It takes some strange cognitive dissonance to hold both the idea that we are sheep and the idea that we are dangerous people who won’t do what we are told to do, in your brain simultaneously.

        • Well, they think everyone is sheep – Trump supports are just sheep that some lunatic managed to get to listen to him. The problem is we listen to the wrong person, not that we’re sheep, per se.

      • I had this discussion with a couple of friends earlier in the week. The Left doesn’t realize that Trump just took a page from Lyndon Johnson’s playbook: “Figure out where the people are going, and get in front of them.” Trump didn’t create a movement, he just recognized a nascent one and adopted it as his own, helping it to grow and thrive.

  3. Considering the Democratic Party still has many minions trying to put him in jail, I don’t see it. They probably don’t even see that as a bargaining chip that they might be able to trade for his cooperation in helping tamp down this pandemic.

    They probably see it as “Trump, you are a scum-sucking, sewer-crawling, racist, xenophobic slug who managed to pull the wool over the American people’s eyes once before one of the last decent men booted you from office. Because of your mismanagement and fostering of distrust for science because you fear smart people, there are a lot of your brainless followers out there refusing to get this vaccine and putting others at risk. We are going to use every tool at our disposal to put you in a Supermax cell 23 hours a day for the rest of the days God gives you. However, you don’t need to spend those days knowing you did nothing good at all in this world. We want you to shoot a spot in which you tell these brainless, red-hatted, beer-gutted followers of yours to get the damn vaccine, already, as soon as they are able, in no uncertain terms. You can refuse, of course, but then you will rise and sleep the rest of your days knowing the blood of every COVID victim who caught it from one of your brainless followers is on your hands. If there is a hell, you are headed for it, but you just might manage to avoid it if you do this one thing.”

    Then again, the left was never terribly good at making deals that benefited both sides or being fair. They are VERY good at using power when they have it or guilt when they don’t to get what they want. In exchange they offer you… nothing, because you deserve nothing. Sometimes I wonder if that’s why a lot of American women are leftists. After all, they’ve been brought up learning about all the things they are supposed to expect from the people in their lives, especially their chosen partners. They are supposed to expect support from their parents in all they choose to do. They are supposed to expect success at school. They are supposed to expect a partner who will do for them and defer to them. They are supposed to expect kids who will be above average and make them proud. However, nowhere are they taught what others expect of them – their presence is enough. Those who dare to deviate from this aren’t even worth thinking about.

  4. He’s already told Americans to get the vaccine. Constantly urging him to repeat that message is no different from asking him repeatedly if he would condemn white supremacy and is really no different from Democrats repeatedly asking Abe Lincoln his views on slavery during the 1860 campaign. Lincoln’s answer was consistently, “My views have already been made and are available for anyone who wants to read them” (paraphrased) and refused to be put in a position where he would be made to perform.

  5. The Dems are furiously continuing to try to put a wooden stake through Trump’s political heart. They are terrified he’ll run in 2024. They’ll never, ever do anything other than vilify him in perpetuity.

    • It wouldn’t shock me if some representative of the Deep State military, law enforcement, and intel folks eventually showed up in Trump’s office while he was out to lunch or attending to other business, and told him in no uncertain terms to plead out and drop out of politics or he will be assassinated, and if he dares breathe a word, members of his family will be assassinated. Sorry it came to this, but now they’re just going to have to take the gloves off.

  6. Personally, I think this demonstrates stunning hypocrisy. In Fall 2020 Democrats went on record stating that they would NEVER accept a vaccine recommended by Donald Trump and there were reams of opinion pieces and “news” articles that accused Trump of being everything from a racist to a serial liar.

    Why on earth would he stand with people like that to urge his fellow citizens to get a vaccine? Nothing has changed except that the Democrats are now “in power”. Not only would it require Trump to rub shoulders with people who have never apologized for their behavior it would send the message that all of the criticism of his Presidency was valid, as he is now standing with them urging people to do the opposite of what his opponents urged less than a year ago.

    Furthermore, he would be doing this while the media is claiming his supporters are “enemies of the state”. While it would certainly be ethical for Trump to urge his supporters to get vaccinated (which he already has) it makes no sense to suddenly support people who never supported vaccinations while he was in office.

    I have yet to see much in the way of polling to determine where on the political spectrum people who do not want to get a vaccine stand, but my instincts tell me there are far more on the left than on the right. And whether or not to get a vaccine is a personal choice. If abortion, refusal of other vaccines or refusal to seek medical treatment due to religious or political beliefs is acceptable, then refusal to take a vaccine for a virus with a 99%+ survival rate is equally acceptable, and neither Donald Trump, Barack Obama, Joseph Biden or Boris Johnston have the right to force or harass anyone differently

  7. All news reports claim covid is spiking or they reference large percentage increases in cases. No baseline date is given as a reference point. That makes me suspicious of the extent of the problem. Biden’s only positives -polling wise- have been related to his handling of the pandemic. What has he done? The vaccine was online before he was inaugurated. He needs to look like he is doing something. Maybe if he would restrict entry from the southern border and stop seeding areas with unvaccinated and contagious illegal immigrants using military aircraft the number of cases will decline. For all I know the uptick in cases could be among those the administration is facilitating entry.

  8. To add to the theater I would require Biden and Obama to personally roll out the red carpet and salute Trump as he strides down the carpet. They would need to call, in unison, the virus the Wuhan Virus as well as its other varients- the British variant, the South African variant, and the Indian variant. In addition, they should loudly call the vaccine “the Trump Vaccine.”

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