GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday he is “perplexed” by the inability of the United States to “finish the job” of getting the vast majority of Americans vaccinated against the deadly coronavirus that has already claimed more than 600,000 lives nationwide.
Asked if he had advice for right-wing pundits and GOP politicians who have vilified the vaccines, McConnell called himself “a huge fan” of vaccinations. “I’m perplexed by the difficulty we have in finishing the job,” McConnell offered. “We need to keep preaching that getting the vaccine is important,” he added, seemingly oblivious to the fact that members of his own party across the country are routinely stoking vaccine hesitancy among their followers as a way to score political points. In fact, contracting COVID-19 has now largely become a red-state, red-county problem due to low vaccination rates among GOP voters.
At last weekend’s CPAC conference in Texas, attendees actually cheered when extremist Alex Berenson celebrated the Biden administration’s inability to, as he put it, “sucker” 70% of U.S. adults into getting the lifesaving vaccine. Or as a pointedly macabre Esquire headline put it, “They clapped for death.”
One reporter at McConnell’s press conference did something unusual: She fact-checked him in real time.
“It isn’t all that perplexing. There are Republicans who are casting doubt on the vaccines,” she said, name checking GOP Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, in particular. “That’s where this hesitancy is coming from—from members of your own party casting doubts on vaccines,” she added, asking McConnell what kind of conversations he’s had with members of his own party.
McConnell declined to say whether he’s had any conversations with Johnson or other Republicans about the host of baseless conspiracy theories they are pushing.
”I can only speak for myself,” McConnell said.
That’s exactly how we landed here in the first place—Republican politicians who have been completely unwilling to acknowledge or take any responsibility whatsoever for the (sometimes deadly) consequences of the actions of those in their own party. In fact, that’s exactly what Senate Republicans are trying to do right now as they turn an eye toward 2022—sweep Donald Trump under the rug as if he doesn’t exist after they gave him free rein to savage the country for four solid years.