In his "Reality Check" segment on CNN's "New Day," co-host John Avlon criticized some within the Republican Party for not only exacerbating fears of COVID-19 vaccines but also cynically fundraising off of those same fears.
Noting that Oklahoma Republican chair John Bennett compared pressure to be vaccinated to the Holocaust, Avlon said that linking the life-saving vaccine to the murder of over six million Jews is outrageous and made even worse by the fact that the state's GOP sent out a fundraising letter using the analogy.
"Back in April, Canada had 3 percent of the population fully vaccinated. there are no domestic manufacturers of the vaccine up north. Cities like Montreal and Toronto were in lockdown," he began. "Fast forward to this summer and 59 percent of the Canadian population is fully vaccinated with 71 percent having received one dose. Meanwhile, in the U.S., cases and hospitalizations are spiking and were stalled at under 50 percent fully vaccinated which begs the question: why?"
"The answer is that our country is stuck and suffering right now because of the unvaccinated and a stubbornly high percent have refused the vaccine because of hyperpartisan lies," he continued before sharing a GOP tweet attacking vaccinations. "Here is a steaming fresh example of that BS pushing out a tweet comparing common sense restrictions for the unvaccinated to the yellow star that Hitler's Nazi Germany forced Jewish citizens to wear. Yes, the same one that identified the 6 million people murdered during the Holocaust."
"Of course, this part of a sickening pattern of Nazi comparison put out by the far-right," he continued. "Not just random whackos, but people who represent the Republican Party in positions of power and influence. And the Oklahoma GOP is fundraising off this bile. It's ghoulish. They're trying to profit from polarization on the back of people's pain and suffering. Because in Oklahoma City, ICUs are near capacity as COVID hospitalizations have nearly doubled in the past few weeks."
"Let's look at Florida, where just a few weeks ago, Governor Ron DeSantis' PAC was selling swag saying 'Don't Fauci my Florida,'" he continued. "Now Florida has broken its record for new daily cases and vaccinations, higher than before vaccinations were available. Patients in the ICU there are begging for vaccines. In fact, Florida has gotten nearly 25 times more people hospitalized for COVID than in all of Canada."
"So when Florida Representative Matt Gaetz tells supporters this weekend, 'I've got the Florida variant, the freedom variant,' it affects the brain, it's more of a self-own than he intends, and he is mocking his own constituents who are suffering from the very real disease," Avlon asserted.
"For every Republican politician who is trying to get their constituents to get the vaccine now, there are still many who are spreading deadly misinformation. Leadership matters. Get this, every Democratic member of Congress hasn't gotten vaccinated. But 97 Republicans, including Gaetz, refused to share their vaccination status when asked by CNN", he continued before calling the GOP leadership "self-deluded."
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