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White House clarifies why Nicki Minaj was invited to discuss vaccine safety

Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

The White House has responded again to spitfire rapper Nicki Minaj's claim that she was invited there to discuss COVID-19 vaccines.

On Thursday, Biden administration officials doubled down by saying they had only "an early-stage call" with Minaj to answer her questions about vaccine safety.

Minaj, who made tidal waves this week with tweets expressing her doubts about COVID vaccines, told a different story Wednesday.

"Do y'all think I would go on the internet and lie about being invited to the f—ing White House? Like what? Do you guys see what is happening right now?" Minaj said in a 14-minute Instagram Live video.

Nonetheless, the matter made its way to a White House press briefing Thursday, where Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked to address the discrepancy between the administration's account and the rapper's.

"We don't see this as a point of tension or disagreement. I want you all to know that we engage all the time with people who have big public platforms or profiles," Psaki said.

 

"We offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she had about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. This is pretty standard and something we do all the time," she added. "We're not even at the point of discussing the mechanism or the formats or anything along those lines. It was simply an offer to have a conversation and an early-stage call."

Psaki said she hoped that people who have a platform as large as Minaj's would "project accurate information" about the effectiveness, safety and availability of the vaccine.

"At the same time, and both can be true, we also recognize that people have questions out there," she said. "In our outreach to celebrities, it follows a pretty standard process: Officials who are working on these issues engage in regular conversations, offer to answer questions — offer to do that privately sometimes, sometimes it's done publicly."

On social media Wednesday, Minaj shifted the narrative away from the ridicule of her cousin's friend's swollen testicles story and instead waded deep into race relations and real questions she had about healthcare. The "Super Bass" artist accused her critics of trying to "assassinate" her character.

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