The vast majority of Republicans surveyed in a new poll said they trusted former President Donald Trump on medical advice – even after he suggested that injecting disinfectants could cure Covid-19 during a White House press briefing.
At least 66 per cent of self-identified Republicans surveyed in the Economist/YouGov poll released this week said they trusted the former president “a lot” or “somewhat” for medical advice, while just 11 per cent of Republicans said they trusted President Joe Biden.
However, Mr Trump was the least trusted official among of those featured in the poll, with just 29 percent of all respondents expressing some level of trust in the former president for medical advice, while 44 percent of all respondents said they trusted Mr Biden “a lot” or “somewhat” on the issue.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) saw the highest level of trust among respondents with 57 per cent, while 48 per cent said they trusted Dr Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s leading public health experts and longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Mr Trump at times made a mockery of public health guidelines issued by credible, scientific institutions like the CDC during his tenure in the Oval Office, attacking his then-opponent along the campaign trail for following provisions and wearing a face mask, as Mr Biden implored the public to stay safe and follow social distancing measures.
Dr Fauci, who served as a member of the former president’s coronavirus response task force and now advises Mr Biden on the pandemic response, has since revealed what it was like working for Mr Trump at the onset of the Covid-19 crisis.
“It was clear that [Mr Trump] was getting input from people who were calling him up … people he knew from business, saying, ‘Hey, I heard about this drug, isn’t it great?’ or, ‘Boy, this convalescent plasma is really phenomenal,’” Dr Fauci told The New York Times. “I would try to, you know, calmly explain that you find out if something works by doing an appropriate clinical trial; you get the information, you give it a peer review. And he’d say, ‘Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, this stuff really works.”
“It isn’t like I took any pleasure in contradicting the president of the United States,” he continued, “But ... I just had to. Otherwise I would be compromising my own integrity, and be giving a false message to the world.”
Mr Trump, who himself contracted Covid-19 last year, was reportedly vaccinated behind closed doors as other prominent officials and elected lawmakers encouraged their supporters to get the shot through public inoculations.
The former president issued countless bizarre and entirely misleading claims surrounding the virus that has killed more than 561,000 Americans nationwide, from suggesting Covid-19 was “disappearing” in October 2020, as the pandemic accelerated across the country, to claiming doctors were inflating the death toll in an effort to get paid more money.
Much of what the former president has said about Covid-19 has turned out to be false – or already had been disproven at the time of his remarks.
Still, Republicans expressed more trust in the former president than many of the current officials and entities tasked with distributing Covid-19 vaccines while continuing to enforce public health guidelines.
Republicans were also the least likely of any respondents to say they will get vaccinated when they become eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, with 40 percent saying they will not get the shot.