A fight over whether to promote Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus vaccines more aggressively is claimed to be dividing the Republican membership. Those concerned about the virus’s return oppose a GOP minority that recently raised alarm about the national immunization program.
Politico reported the widening split is evident on Capitol Hill and across party membership, with prominent conservatives openly calling for injections. Others highlight the GOP’s need to preserve traditional values like “individual liberty,” and letting individuals make their own informed decisions.
Top Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey have urged people to get vaccinated. However, others downplay the threat of a CCP Virus resurgence and worry about upsetting the GOP base, which considers a sputtering vaccination effort to be a political ‘slap in the face’ for President Joe Biden.
GOP physicians recently held a press conference in U.S. Congress to address the Delta variant. Legislators took the opportunity to revive unconfirmed theories the virus had leaked from a Chinese laboratory. They also accused Democrats of failing to conduct a comprehensive investigation into the disease’s origins.
When asked if Republicans should encourage individuals to be vaccinated, Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) stressed it is “their choice.”
“It is our patriotic duty to care for other people but it is also our patriotic duty to understand that we have individual rights in this country,” he said according to the publication.
BL understands this apprehension, as evidenced in 11 conversations with GOP policymakers, could complicate the pandemic response if the Delta strain increases case numbers and hospitalizations. The escalating conflict is expected to affect Republican voters the most, with eight of the 10 states with the highest rate of CCP Virus hospitalizations led by Republicans.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) urged Americans to try out the vaccine after recently receiving his first dose. He will not dispute conservative skepticism about vaccination safety concerns.
“I have not heard any conservatives raising doubts,” he said according to Politico.
The remarks came just one day after Turning Point USA co-founder Charlie Kirk expressed concern about vaccine safety.
This position has only enraged Biden administration officials and public health experts. It has also stymied the national vaccine campaign that reached 68 percent of adult Americans at the time of publication. The White House admits it still has not met its target to achieve so-called herd immunity.
Since July 4 daily vaccination rates have gradually decreased, with the United States averaging fewer than 500,000 injections a day.
Republicans pounced on President Biden’s pledge to go “door to door” and offer free vaccines, warning the government could monitor anyone who refuses. However, administration officials claim they are simply bridging the ever-widening ideological split.
Animosity within the Republican Party has “profound consequences,” according to one senior administration official.
“You are putting people in harm’s way and this is [expletive] serious,” the official said according to the publication. “This is as serious as we have been at.”
The failing vaccination effort and virus’s fast resurgence, has prompted several prominent Republicans to oppose the mandatory vaccine rhetoric.
McConnell has pushed for the shots several times, slamming “all of these other voices that are giving demonstrably bad advice.” After a sharp increase of CCP Virus cases in the Yellowhammer State Ivey even said it was time to “start blaming the unvaccinated folks.”
Jerome Adams has similarly supported the vaccine effort. The former Trump-era surgeon general offered grave warnings about the Delta strain and tried to dispel public concerns in opinion editorials, television appearances, and hundreds of daily Twitter posts.
In Congress, some politicians expressed dissatisfaction that the party was not more aggressive in pushing for the jab.
“I mean it is our base, right?” Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) said according to Politico. “These are our voters and I think we have a responsibility to say, ‘Get vaccinated.'”
Few members are prepared to target their party’s most vocal vaccine critics, or to personally battle disinformation that has spread on social media platforms, in conservative newspapers and even Congress.
“To me, the single most important public health measure we can encourage people to take is to get vaccinated,” Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said according to the publication. “We are a free country–people are at liberty to state their own views.”
Several politicians hesitate to address Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s cyclical shift between endorsing vaccines and voicing concern about their safety.
Others blame the Biden administration for alienating conservatives. They dismiss the so-called urgency to vaccinate, because the Delta variety is not fully proven to be more virulent than previous strains.
“The good news is it looks like it is no more virulent,” Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said according to Politico. “If you look at deaths and hospitalizations, it is probably no worse than the original virus.”
Meanwhile, the GOP’s most outspoken vaccination doubters have escalated concerns, virtually uncontested within the party. Twitter previously banned Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) for claiming the CCP Virus is “not hazardous” for certain people.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) continues to oppose the Biden administration’s efforts to have all Americans vaccinated, one month after hosting an event that highlights the vaccine’s least common adverse effects.