Political pollster Frank Luntz told CNN this week that Dr. Anthony Fauci, who serves as the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the chief medical advisor to the president, turns people off to the idea of getting vaccinated and that if the Biden administration is serious about getting more people vaccinated they need to get Fauci out of television interviews.
During an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Luntz also said that one of the top things that the administration could do would be to invite former President Donald Trump to the White House to do a joint public service announcement asking people to get vaccinated.
“You had on earlier Tom Frieden, Dr. Frieden, who’s probably the best communicator in the country on this stuff. And Anderson, I’m going to tell you something, which probably you don’t want to hear. But I’d rather see Tom Frieden on the show than Anthony Fauci on this show because Fauci has become so politicized, so polarized, that every time he speaks, he actually turns off people,” Luntz later added.
“We need more people, more experts like, like Tom Frieden, who are active and know the data and know-how to communicate it is personal responsibility, not some sort of national discussion. And the most important fact of all, if over 90% of doctors have been vaccinated, don’t they know something that you may not know? Because the problem is they’re trusting their cousin, rather than their doctor,” Luntz continued.
“So it’s interesting what you said about Dr. Fauci because he viewed you’re saying through a political lens by a large segment of the population who was vaccine-hesitant and refusing to take it because he’s been labeled that then they discount anything he has to say, or in fact, do the opposite,” Cooper said.
“Exactly,” Luntz responded.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy previously called for Fauci’s ouster because “the American people don’t have trust in Dr. Fauci” and “we’re talking about American lives here.”
Anthony Fauci has become “so politicized, so polarized that every time he speaks he actually turns off people,” to the vaccines, says pollster Frank Luntz.
"If we are serious about it, it means we have to put the best spokespeople out there," he adds. pic.twitter.com/RtGWhecdL6
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) July 27, 2021
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: The Biden administration has been doing its own polling of the unvaccinated since the spring to try to find out why they’re hesitant. Frank Luntz, a Republican pollster with deep roots in the party has been working with the administration in an unofficial capacity. We should point out the de Beaumont foundation is helping coordinate and fund the focus groups and Frank Luntz joins us now.
Frank, thank you for being with us. I think it’s really important what you’re doing and I really am interested to hear from you what works to reach those of any political persuasion who, for whatever reason, are hesitant. What is the biggest challenge to getting people vaccinated?
FRANK LUNTZ, POLLSTER & POLITICAL ANALYST: Probably the biggest challenge is that they simply don’t believe the information that they’re being provided that they’ve started to deny the data, forget the facts, and they simply refuse to be educated. And we have to be careful about this because skepticism is acceptable. People have the right to be nervous about a vaccine that has still been not fully approved by the FDA.
But that said, we know that over 90% of the people in the hospitals are people who did not get vaccinated, we know that this vaccine is safe, we know that it works that the government would even shut it down for six instances, six out of tens of millions of people a couple months ago, who may have developed blood clots from it. So, this is a very careful, very well researched a very well-studied vaccine, and I’m going to give you four solutions.
Number one, for grandparents who are watching, it’s time for you to call your grandkids. You know, the closest family relationship of all is grandparent-grandchild, they both have the same enemy. Grandparents, call your grandkids tell them they are vaccinated.
Second, teachers, we’re about to have a back-to-school effort. We need teachers to call the parents themselves, call your class and say, you know, it would be really great if your students are vaccinated, and I think you should get one too.
Third, not just your own doctor, but pharmacists need to get involved because there are millions of people who trust their pharmacist when they are seeking medical information.
And fourth, frankly, it’s Donald Trump. And I want Joe Biden to specifically invite Trump to the White House, say, come on home and you and I are going to ask people to get vaccinated. What we learned from the de Beaumont, and by the way, you can see all the research, everything is available on the de Beaumont.
We know that if Biden and Trump together make the request that millions of people listen to it. So let’s try to make that happen. Let’s push Trump to join Joe Biden and the two of them together, say to the American people, we got the vaccine, we got it out to you, now use it.
COOPER: Is it for — you know, I understand, you know, everybody has freedoms to do what they want with their bodies. Is it — how effective a message do you think it’s been from the former president this weekend saying, look, you know, I did the vaccine. You know, I’m very pleased with how I did it. I recommend you get it. But I also understand your freedoms. Is that enough?
LUNTZ: No, it’s not enough. It has to be more. And it’s also has to be about personal responsibility. You had on earlier Tom Frieden, Dr. Frieden, who’s probably the best communicator in the country on this stuff. And Anderson, I’m going to tell you something, which probably you don’t want to hear. But I’d rather see Tom Frieden on the show than Anthony Fauci on this show, because Fauci has become so politicized, so polarized, that every time he speaks, he actually turns off people.
We need more people, more experts like, like Tom Friedman, who are active and know the data and know how to communicate it is personal responsibility, not some sort of national discussion. And the most important fact of all, if over 90% of doctors have been vaccinated, don’t they know something that you may not know? Because the problem is they’re trusting their cousin, rather than their doctor.
COOPER: So it’s interesting what you said about Dr. Fauci because he viewed you’re saying through a political lens by a large segment of the population who was vaccine hesitant and refusing to take it, because he’s been labeled that then they discount anything he has to say, or in fact, do the opposite.
LUNTZ: Exactly. And, and you’re serious. And this is a serious show. And by the way, it’s 1:40 a.m., here in London, and I got up to make sure I stayed up to make sure I can do this. If we are serious about it, it means we have to put the best folks, people out there.
And it also means we can’t demonize the people that we’re trying to win over, that you don’t hate people because they make the wrong decisions. You love them and try to educate them and try to move them.
Look, I get frustrated and I acknowledge that in the last focus group I did. But we got it. We got to do this. And so demonizing these people —
LUNTZ: — and then asking them to follow a proper course, they won’t do it.
COOPER: Yes, no, you’re right. You’re absolutely right about that. Just one quick question. We had on last week in a report by a correspondent Elle Reeve in Alabama. She talked to a mom who’s eight year — excuse me its Arkansas. She talked to a mom whose eight-year- old child got COVID according to mom was pretty sick, had a really high fever for weeks and weeks and weeks.
The mom said was still not feeling well. She wanted to take the child to a doctor to see what kind of damage was done. If anything more could be done to help. Then Elle Reeve ask, well, you know, are you now going to get vaccinated to, you know, protect your other kids? And she said no, and the answer was because she didn’t trust the government.
How do you reach her? Without condemning without, without, you know, naming, you know, calling names, just all that matters is protecting those kids.
LUNTZ: We have so destroyed our democracy. We have done so much damage to this country. It’s one of the reasons why I had to get out for a couple months. When science is so polarized and so political, that you can’t tell people the truth that they won’t listen to you, then you know, the damage has been done. And I’m afraid it’s prominent. So I wish I could give you the answer. And I told you the four ways that we can make a difference.
LUNTZ: But Anderson, we have dammed this country, not two weeks or months, but years of this. It’s not name calling. Its demonization and dehumanization, and delegitimization.
LUNTZ: And God help us because I think a lot of people are going to get sick, a lot of people are going to die. And God I wish it had not happened down.
COOPER: Yes. Frank Luntz, I appreciate what you’re doing. I appreciate you talking tonight. Thank you.