Kentucky governor uses former Trump official’s words to urge people to get COVID vaccine

Published 10:11 pm Thursday, July 22, 2021

Kentucky’s Democratic governor on Thursday invoked a warning from a top Trump administration health official in urging people resisting the COVID-19 vaccine to get the shots, as the delta variant causes a spike in coronavirus cases.

After months of imploring people to get vaccinated, Gov. Andy Beshear acknowledged the unvaccinated are unlikely to listen to him. So he recounted the warning from Scott Gottlieb, who served as head of the Food and Drug Administration under former President Donald Trump.

Gottlieb said recently that for most unvaccinated Americans who become infected with the delta variant, the virus will be the most serious they get in their lifetime.

Beshear drove the point home at his weekly news conference.

“That should encourage every single Kentuckian who is eligible that has not gotten vaccinated to get out there and get vaccinated,” the governor said.

Beshear also noted the COVID-19 vaccines were developed while Trump was in office.

“There’s no politics in this thing,” the governor said.

Trump overwhelmingly carried Republican-leaning Kentucky when he won the presidency in 2016 and again in 2020 when he lost to Democrat Joe Biden. Some Republicans have been hesitant to encourage vaccination, saying individual citizens should be free to make their own choices.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has repeatedly implored people to get vaccinated. McConnell on Tuesday urged Americans to ignore the “demonstrably bad advice” coming from pundits and others against the COVID-19 vaccines.

Coronavirus cases have risen for three straight weeks in Kentucky, largely among the unvaccinated, and Beshear predicted this week’s case numbers will exceed last week’s. Kentucky reported 1,054 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, the highest one-day total since March 11. The delta variant is blamed for most new cases.

“Let’s be clear about the delta variant,” Beshear said. “It is the most aggressive form of COVID that we have seen. If you are unvaccinated, it is the deadliest form of COVID that we have seen.”