As reported by The New York Times, Republicans everywhere are now flailing mightily in an effort to point their fingers to blame the new surge in delta variant COVID-19 infections on anything and anyone except themselves. As Jonathan Weisman and Sheryl Gay Stolberg write, “Amid a widening partisan divide over coronavirus vaccination, most Republicans have either stoked or ignored the flood of misinformation reaching their constituents and instead focused their message about the vaccine on disparaging President Biden, characterizing his drive to inoculate Americans as politically motivated and heavy-handed.”
Meanwhile, the highly contagious delta variant of the virus is disproportionately hitting the least-vaccinated, most Republican states with a vengeance. As reported by Business Insider:
[T]the variant isn’t hitting all states equally. Delta cases have risen primarily in states with low vaccination rates, which for the most part are heavily Republican — “red” states such as Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri, and Wyoming. Overall, these states have seen higher upticks in daily cases and hospitalizations than “blue” states that voted Democratic in the 2020 election.
Let’s be clear on something: Variants to the COVID-19 virus are caused by allowing the virus to continue spreading among the unvaccinated, giving it more time and opportunity to mutate. The more unvaccinated people there are, the better the chance of a variant developing and spreading. That’s what led to this delta variant that’s now ravaging the vaccine-refusing Republican population in this country. In simpler terms, Republican intransigence and political pandering created and abetted the conditions that led to the spread of the delta variant and encouraged an environment that allowed it to flourish. And now that it’s disproportionately killing “their” people, in red-leaning states, Republican elected officials are desperately seeking—once again—to avoid the blame.
From the Times’ Weisman and Stolberg:
On Tuesday, Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the No. 2 House Republican who said he had received his first Pfizer vaccine shot only on Sunday, blamed the hesitance on Mr. Biden and his criticism of Donald J. Trump’s vaccine drive last year. Senator Tommy Tuberville, Republican of Alabama, said skeptics would not get their shots until “this administration acknowledges the efforts of the last one.”
And Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas pointed the finger at the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.
“Every time Jen Psaki opens her mouth or Dr. Fauci opens his mouth,” he said, “10,000 more people say I’m never going to take the vaccine.”
What crap. Rep. Scalise waits until July 2021 to get a vaccine and blames that … on Biden? Hey Steve, Trump and his wife got their vaccinations in January! What, you didn’t know that? What kind of “representative” are you?
And Sen. Marshall blames this new COVID-19 variant scourge on Anthony Fauci? Someone who spent the entire pandemic trying to convince people to wear masks and get the vaccines when they became available? And Psaki is somehow contributing to this by encouraging people, at every opportunity over the past five months, to get vaccinated?
Newly elected wingnut Sen. Tuberville says that Republicans won’t get vaccinated until Biden “acknowledges the efforts” Trump supposedly made. What efforts, exactly? The “efforts” that resulted in literally hundreds of thousands of needless deaths, as a result of a year’s worth of COVID-19 disinformation by Trump and the Republican Party?
You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me. This variant and its spread is your fault, Republicans. You created it, you fostered it, you encouraged it, and the people dying as a result of it are dying because of you.
No one else: you.
As the Times article notes, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that 86% of Democrats had received their first shots as of the end of June, compared with 52% of Republicans. Why? Because of this kind of garbage that the GOP has been peddling:
Some elected Republicans are the ones spreading the falsehoods. Representative Jason Smith of Missouri, a Senate candidate, warned on Twitter of “KGB-style” agents knocking on the doors of unvaccinated Americans — a reference to Mr. Biden’s door-to-door vaccine outreach campaign.
And check out the fearmongering that Missouri’s insurrectionist-loving Republican senator has been spewing:
“Beijing-style surveillance,” huh? No wonder Republicans aren’t getting their vaccines! Better dead than Red, right?
Now we see Trump mouthpieces like Sean Hannity and other Fox News anchors who spent the pandemic denying the seriousness of the virus suddenly coming out as super pro-vaccine. It’s a little too late for redemption, boys, particularly as your primetime colleagues Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham still seem to regard vaccine disinformation as critical to their careers.
Republicans walked straight into a buzzsaw with their eyes wide open. They cannot say it’s anyone’s fault but their own.
They certainly shouldn’t try to blame Democrats for their lethal choices. It’s just insulting.