Lindsey Graham Told Donald Trump to 'Speak Up' And Encourage Supporters to Get COVID-19 Vaccine

"President Trump has taken the vaccine. I've taken the vaccine," the South Carolina Republican wrote on Twitter Thursday

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty

Sen. Lindsey Graham is asking former president Donald Trump to "speak up" and use his influence to encourage his supporters to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the South Carolina politician, 66, said he's "urged" Trump, 75, "to be aggressive and say, 'Take the vaccine,' " explaining that vaccinations are "the antidote to the virus that's wreaking havoc on our hospitals."

Graham also took to Twitter on Thursday, to note that Trump himself is vaccinated.

"President Trump has taken the vaccine. I've taken the vaccine," Graham wrote. "If you are unvaccinated, I would encourage you to take the vaccine as well."

Graham is currently recovering from COVID-19 after disclosing on Monday that he tested positive for the virus. The lawmaker was alerted he had contracted COVID-19 only days after he and other senators attended a gathering hosted by Sen. Joe Manchin on his houseboat.

Later that night, Graham said he began to experience symptoms and reported feeling "achy and kind of yucky" last weekend. While he said he had been feeling better on Thursday, Graham admitted Monday and Tuesday were "pretty tough."

"It went from sort of a mild sinus infection until just a full-blown, feeling like crap," Graham told AP, although he said he thinks his symptoms would have been far more severe if he wasn't vaccinated. Graham received both shots in December 2020.

"I feel like I have a sinus infection and at present time I have mild symptoms. I will be quarantining for ten days," Graham wrote on Twitter Monday. "I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now. My symptoms would be far worse."

While he didn't provide details about the houseboat gathering he attended, Graham told the outlet that all attendees were vaccinated.

Lindsey Graham
Sen. Lindsey Graham. GREG NASH/POOL/AFP via Getty

While Trump was vaccinated in January, the former president has been less outspoken about vaccination than others in Washington, although he said last month that the shots were "gonna save the world."

Graham, meanwhile, has been campaigning for Americans to get vaccinated to stop the spread of COVID-19 for months. In April, the senator stopped by a South Carolina clinic, where he pressed his constituents to get vaccinated.

"I've got a simple message: I've been vaccinated. I'm glad I did. If you haven't been vaccinated, get vaccinated," Graham, a longtime Trump ally, said at the time. "As soon as we get all of our folks vaccinated as much as possible you hit about 80%, the quicker we can get back to normal. I think the vaccine is safe. I think it is effective."

Graham told AP that he understands getting the vaccine is a "sacrifice" for some Americans, but added, "No one's being asked to go off to fight radical Islam or fight a foreign enemy.

"We're being asked to make responsible medical decisions," Graham said. "Take the vaccine."

Breakthrough cases — COVID-19 infections that occur in people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus — are rare, but possible and expected, as the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections. Still, vaccinated people who test positive will likely be asymptomatic or experience a far milder illness than if they were not vaccinated. The majority of deaths from COVID-19 — around 98 to 99% — are in unvaccinated people.

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