Sarah Sanders promotes ‘Trump vaccine’ but says Americans should ‘pray about it’

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<span>Photograph: Octavio Jones/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Octavio Jones/Reuters

The former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has urged people in Arkansas to “pray about it” before considering whether to get what she dubbed the “Trump vaccine” against Covid-19.

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Sanders is running for Arkansas governor. In an opinion piece for the Arkansas Democrat Chronicle, headlined “The reasoning behind getting vaccinated”, she mostly used her platform to criticise Democrats and Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to Joe Biden.

Sanders did offer tentative encouragement for people in her state to get the coronavirus vaccine.

“To anyone still considering the merits of vaccination,” she wrote, “I leave you with this encouragement: Pray about it, discuss it with your family and your doctor.

“Filter out the noise and fear-mongering and condescension, and make the best, most informed decision you can that helps your family, community, and our great state be its very best.”

Sanders, whose national name recognition has her well positioned to become Arkansas’s first female governor, said that “like many” Americans, she “had a lot of misinformation thrown at me by politicians and the media during the pandemic”.

Trump, Sanders’ former boss, was chief among the misinformants, variously suggesting people could be injected with “disinfectant” or blasted with “ultraviolet or just very powerful light”.

Skipping past that, Sanders said: “Dr Fauci and the ‘because science says so’ crowd of arrogant, condescending politicians and bureaucrats were wrong about more than their mandates and shutdowns that have inflicted incalculable harm on our people and economy.”

Sanders, whose father is Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, has spent her entire career in politics, having worked on local and national campaigns before becoming an adviser to Trump in 2016.

Despite her apparent endorsement of what she repeatedly called the “Trump vaccine” – shots against Covid-19 were developed under the Trump administration – Sanders still gave a nod to the vaccine-hesitant crowd.

“Based on the advice of my doctor, I determined that the benefits of getting vaccinated outweighed any potential risks,” she said.

Conservative figures, mindful that many rightwing voters refuse to get the vaccine, have been reluctant to outright endorse the shot. Instead, recommendations by figures such as Sean Hannity, an influential Fox News host, have often been prefaced by phrases like “talk to your doctor” and “do your research”.

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