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At a briefing on Thursday, press secretary Jen Psaki said that the White House offered to set up a call with a doctor to speak with the rapper Nicki Minaj, after she posted a tweet with vaccine misinformation.
- I want to ask you about some recent vaccine misinformation that's been out there and ask you to clarify-- there seems to be a difference of opinion between Nicki Minaj and the White House about what she was invited to do. Did the White House extend an invitation to Nicki Minaj to come here?
JEN PSAKI: Well, first, we don't see this as a point of tension or disagreement. I want you all to know that we engage all the time with people who have big public platforms or profiles-- some of them we talk about, some of them are here, some of them you don't even know about because they're just looking for questions to be answered.
We offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she had about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. This is pretty standard and something we do all the time. It was a very early stage call at a staff level-- staff to staff-- and we weren't even at the point of discussing-- or we're not even at the point of discussing, I should say, at this point the mechanisms, or the format, or anything along those lines. It was simply an offer to have a conversation and an early stage call.
- Do you think that's going to happen?
JEN PSAKI: We'll see. I don't have anything to predict for you.
- What kind of responsibility do you think someone like Nicki Minaj has-- someone with a really big platform-- when it comes to talking about the vaccine?
JEN PSAKI: Well, our hope is that anyone who has a big platform is going to project accurate information about the effectiveness of the vaccine, the safety of the vaccine, and the availability of the vaccine. At the same time-- and both can be true-- we also recognize that people have questions out there.
They have questions they want to have answered by their doctors. We have doctors who can answer questions. And this is something, again, in our outreach to celebrities, it follows a pretty standard process. Officials who are working on these issues and engage in regular conversations offer to answer questions, offer to do that privately. Sometimes, it's done publicly.
And I would say that if we believed that everybody who had a skepticism about the vaccine wasn't someone we should engage with or talk to, we wouldn't have made the progress we've made. I mean, remember, back in December, only 33% of the American people were open to getting vaccinated. Now, more than 75% have had at least one shot. So part of our strategy and our objective from the beginning has been engaging with people who have questions to help answer their questions.