The Late Show host Stephen Colbert opened his monologue Wednesday by slamming Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose recent attacks on the makers of COVID-19 vaccines cite an unfounded conspiracy about its possible side effects.
Desperate to make a name for himself in Republican circles, DeSantis announced that his administration intends to impanel a statewide grand jury to “investigate any and all wrongdoing” by entities associated with the vaccine, including the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) and the makers of the mRNA vaccine.
To which Colbert responded: “You stupid motherPfizer.”
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“You want an investigation? Let me save you some time and money,” Colbert added.
“In the U.S. alone, the COVID-19 vaccines have saved more than 3 million lives and helped prevent 18.5 million hospitalizations. And if that’s not enough, because idiots in your party politicize the vaccine, almost twice as many Republicans died from COVID before the midterms than Democrats. Y’all killed your own voters. It’s the stupidest political strategy since the Whig slogan of 1840, ‘Tippecanoe and Taunt a Grizzly,’” Colbert said.
Then Colbert showed a montage of DeSantis encouraging Floridians to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
When CNN’s Kate Bolduc spoke with outgoing medical advisor to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci, about DeSantis’ investigation, he said he “didn’t have a clue” what the governor was asking for.
Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), added, “I mean, we have a vaccine that unequivocally is highly effective and safe and has saved literally millions of lives," Fauci said. "So what's the problem with vaccines? I mean, vaccines are lifesaving. So quite frankly, Kate, I'm not sure what — what they're trying to do down there."
Colbert said that DeSantis’ supporters considered themselves to be “somewhat conservative.” So, Colbert posits, all the governor has to do to take “full command of the GOP” is to “reel in the coveted conservative demographic of angry conspiracy QAnon all-meat diet, tan your testicle boys.”
Colbert showed the audience a poll that showed that Republican voters preferred DeSantis over former President Donald Trump by 52% to 38% as a presidential candidate.
“Hard to know who to root for here,” Colbert said, adding, “It’s like a poll between gonorrhea and a slightly more racist gonorrhea.”
As for DeSantis’ dog whistle to MAGA voters who push a dangerous conspiracy about vaccines, Fauci told the CNN host, “It has been politicized, and it has been politicized in a way that has actually cost lives. […] We’re all in this together. We’re all human beings, and we’re all susceptible to disease that can kill us. [...] When people’s lives are being lost about this, maybe that’ll shake people up enough to realize that we’ve got to start pulling together and not against each other.”
The Miami Herald reports that Republicans have signaled that they plan to open investigations into the origins of the virus and subpoena Fauci when they gain control of the House.