Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders urged Arkansans to consider getting the “Trump vaccine” as the state hovers below the national average of fully vaccinated individuals over age 12.

The Republican candidate for governor blamed politicians, media and Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious-disease expert, for disseminating conflicting information about the efficacy of vaccines in a Sunday opinion piece for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Sanders said Fauci and “condescending politicians and bureaucrats” were wrong about their mandates and shutdowns, which she said have caused “incalculable harm” to people.

“They also misjudged the Trump vaccine plan, which rolled out just as safely, quickly, and effectively as the Trump administration promised,” Sanders said.

The gubernatorial hopeful is among a growing list of conservative voices to pivot their messaging from anti-shutdown mandates and mask freedom to espousing the safety of vaccines for the greater good to their followers as covid-19-related deaths among unvaccinated individuals rise, and as infection rates rise in conservative-dominated states.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) urged Americans last week to get vaccinated as the delta variant spreads across the country, threatening “a situation in the fall that we don’t yearn for, that we went through last year,” he said in a news conference. The delta variant was also a strong reason for Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 Republican in House leadership, to get vaccinated, he told Washington Post reporters last week after receiving his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine.

Even leading talking heads on Fox News have joined in on encouraging their flocks to get jabs to prevent more deaths. Sean Hannity did it last week when he said on his show that he believed in science and the science of vaccination, a sharp turn in his messaging from when he proclaimed the coronavirus to be a hoax.

“The expert” class is also to blame for their “baseless fearmongering” in regards to vaccine hesitancy as they tried to undermine the safety and efficacy of the vaccine when Trump announced that a vaccine would be ready by last December, Sanders said.

Major publications and outlets such as the New York Times and CNN tried to tarnish the former president’s vaccine push , Sanders wrote, but President Biden and Vice President Harris did the most harm in their public statements.

“Biden doubted that the vaccine would be ‘real,’ while Harris said in a nationally-televised debate that she would not take any vaccine the Trump administration had a hand in creating,” Sanders wrote. (Harris said she would only receive a vaccine at the behest of health officials such as Fauci and not Trump himself.)

The married mother of three said she chose to get vaccinated because of her campaign work and after considering that Trump and his family were all vaccinated and fine.

“If getting vaccinated was safe enough for them, I felt it was safe enough for me,” she said.

While urging Arkansas citizens to get vaccinated, Sanders made clear that she does not believe in mask mandates or major shutdowns of nonessential businesses — a major platform her party adapted in the early months when the coronavirus was snaking across the country.

“I believe the Trump vaccine will help keep our state open for business and our economy growing,” she said.

Sanders’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

About 30 percent of Arkansans are fully vaccinated and nearly 46 percent have had at least their first dose, according to the Mayo Clinic.

The state’s current Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson, said in a recent interview on “Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren” that the conservative leanings of his constituents can partially explain the low vaccination rates.

“Sometimes conservatives are hesitant about the government, and we’ve just got to counteract that by getting better information to them, building confidence,” he said. “I’ve learned that it’s not what the government tells you, it’s what your trusted adviser, your medical doctor, or somebody that you trust tells you. And that’s the best persuasive technique we can use to change those attitudes.”

Sanders, a native Arkansan, assured her state that the “Trump vaccine works and is saving lives.”

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