Sen. Graham says he urged Trump "to be aggressive" and tell people to "take the vaccine"

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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who recently tested positive for COVID-19, told AP on Thursday that he's urged former President Trump "to be aggressive and say, 'Take the vaccine'" to increase vaccination rates.

The big picture: Some Republicans have pushed Trump, who was vaccinated in January, to become more vocal in pushing his supporters to get the vaccine.

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  • Alex Azar, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under the Trump administration, wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times this week that he wished Trump would have gotten the vaccine on television "so that his supporters could see how much trust and confidence he has."

  • Trump said on Fox News in March that he would recommend the vaccine to "a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me," according to AP.

  • At a rally in Phoenix last month, however, Trump said he believes some people aren't getting the vaccine because they “don’t trust” President Biden and said it was people’s “freedoms 100%” to choose whether to get the shot, AP noted.

What he's saying: Graham, in his first interview since disclosing he tested positive for COVID-19, told AP on Thursday that Trump has checked on him every day.

  • Graham emphasized that he believes his symptoms would have been much worse if he had not gotten vaccinated.

  • Graham also said Trump was "very proud" of the vaccine and added that vaccinations are important to get the U.S. back on track.

  • "From a conservative person’s point of view, we should do all we can as a nation to get our economy back up and running and to protect our way of life," he added, urging Americans to "take the vaccine."

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