Frank Luntz, a Republican communications specialist and pollster, shrugged of any criticism for assisting the President Joe Biden's administration with its efforts to improve COVID-19 vaccine outreach and encourage U.S. residents to get the shots.
Luntz invited officials within the White House COVID-19 task force into focus groups and was asked to be a guest on several Biden briefing calls, Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser for the coronavirus pandemic response team until June, told Politico.
This follows Washington Post reporting in May that Biden officials shadowed Luntz's focus groups comprised of Republicans and Democrats for study and Fox News host Tucker Carlson critiquing the pollster's "outsized influence" over top Republican officials.
“I don’t care if people b**** at me,” Luntz told Politico when asked about his assistance, which the report described as being in an unofficial capacity.
The GOP adviser also took shots at former President Donald Trump for his vaccine messaging.
"The Biden team didn’t ask me for anything," he said. "They simply said, ‘Whatever you find, we want to know' ... This is more than Trump did. Trump did not care about the research we started to do. The [Trump] White House wasn’t interested in it, he didn’t promote it.”
Slavitt indicated Luntz helped the administration determine what language "was not helping the case."
“The cable networks, in particular, were using language that was not helping the cause,” Slavitt said. “His whole point is that you hear CNN say, ‘Republicans, conservatives aren't getting vaccinated, they’re vaccine-hesitant.’ It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it creates a wedge. It talks down to people. And that was not helpful.”
Slavitt said the de Beaumont Foundation paid for the focus group research from Luntz that was used by the White House.
When Luntz was asked if his relationship with Democrats would anger conservatives, he responded, "I don't care."
Luntz also took issue with Biden's door-to-door vaccine awareness comments last week.
“We are continuing to wind down the mass vaccination sites that did so much in the spring … Now, we need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes door to door, literally knocking on doors, to get help for the remaining people protected from the virus,” the president said last Tuesday.
Luntz said the "likelihood of success" from the push is dismal.
“I don’t know why they came up with this strategy. I don’t know why they recommended it. The likelihood of success is extremely low,” Luntz said. “You have to either know the person or trust a person. Someone who shows up at your door isn’t someone you know or trust.”
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Original Author: Jake Dima