(NEXSTAR) – White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki confirmed at a Thursday press briefing that Nicki Minaj was offered the opportunity to speak with a White House doctor about the coronavirus vaccine, but claimed that the “format” of the conversation was not discussed.
Psaki’s comments came shortly after Minaj claimed on Twitter and Instagram that she was invited to the White House for an in-person visit with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General.
Psaki, however, said an in-person visit was never discussed, and that the offer was only in the “early stage.”
“We offered a call with Nicki Minaj and one of our doctors to answer questions she has about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine,” Psaki said at a Thursday press briefing.
The White House originally extended its offer earlier this week, days after Minaj claimed on Twitter that her cousin in Trinidad decided against getting vaccinated “cuz his friend got it & became impotent. His testicles became swollen.” She shared the anecdote on Monday after confirming to her 22 million followers that she had not yet decided whether to get vaccinated herself.
Minaj’s remarks quickly drew criticism and mockery online, and even on “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” with the host himself expressing interest in interviewing Minaj’s cousin’s friend.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, meanwhile, had already responded to Minaj’s remarks in Tuesday interview on CNN, saying there was “no evidence” that impotence was a side effect of vaccination, and said he felt that Minaj should “be thinking twice” before sharing secondhand anecdotes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also says there is no evidence to show that “any vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines,” cause possible fertility issues in men or women.
Psaki indicated that the offer of a conversation still stands, though she said she was unsure if the White House and Minaj’s people had scheduled anything.
Psaki also responded to the confusion over the invite, saying, “We don’t see this as a point of tension of disagreement.”
“I want you all to know that we engage all the time with people who have big public platforms or profiles,” Psaki said at the briefing. “Some of them we talk about, some of them are here, some of them you don’t even know about, because they’re just looking for questions to be answered.”