search
Sections List
American Journal News

GOP pretends not to know how COVID spreads to earn political points

Health officials say vaccinating everyone — including inmates — is the only way to achieve herd immunity.

By Donna Provencher - February 02, 2021
Share
Steve Scalise

Republicans are criticizing President Joe Biden for a Department of Defense plan to vaccinate inmates at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp against the coronavirus with claims that Biden “was trying to prioritize Gitmo terrorists over Americans” by authorizing the vaccination program.

The GOP lawmakers seem determined to ignore the recommendations of health experts, who warn that prison inmates are statistically vulnerable to infectious diseases and that prison employees who are exposed to the coronavirus are a significant contributor to its spread in the local community.

During an appearance on Fox News Tuesday, House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise said, “What has President Biden done? First, we exposed that he was trying to prioritize Gitmo terrorists over Americans in getting the vaccine. They pulled back on that after we exposed it, but then, now, he’s saying that people who came here illegally can jump ahead of other Americans who have been waiting to get the vaccine on that prioritization. So what is this priority? It thought we were supposed to be looking out for hard-working families.”

Scalise tweeted, “This shouldn’t be a debate: American seniors, essential workers, and vulnerable populations should get it first — not last.”

In a memo released Jan. 27, a Department of Defense official announced that Guantanamo Bay detainees had been authorized to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The reaction of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was typical: “President Biden told us he would have a plan to defeat the virus on day 1. He just never told us that it would be to give the vaccine to terrorists before most Americans,” McCarthy tweeted.

Other House Republicans also criticized the plan to vaccinate the inmates — including Wisconsin’s Bryan Steil, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, Ashley Hinson of Iowa, Brian Babin of Texas, and Kat Cammack of Florida — repeating the words “terrorists” and noting that “seniors” and “law-abiding, taxpaying Americans” were lined up behind “the mastermind of 9/11 attacks” to obtain vaccines.

Stefanik and Hinson on Monday introduced a resolution in the House to block the vaccination plan.

The Pentagon subsequently put it on hold.

Guantanamo Bay now houses only 40 detainees, but 1,500 National Guard members — essential workers such as Scalise claims deserve protection — are stationed there. There are 6,000 people living on the adjoining naval base. NBC reports that all detainees are legally required to obtain any necessary medical treatment on the base, where one hospital serves the entire population.

Prison reform advocates and health experts alike have warned of the challenge of containing virus spread in prisons, due to close quarters among inmates and limited access to medical care. Studies have repeatedly highlighted that inmates are among those most at risk of contracting COVID-19.

According to the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice nonpartisan think tank, inmates are four times more likely to contract the coronavirus than are members of the general population.

Other studies have noted that prison workers who interact with inmates are a major contributor to community spread of coronavirus.

Dr. Seena Fazel, a University of Oxford psychiatrist, said, “Our research suggests that people in prison should be among the first groups to receive any COVID-19 vaccine to protect against infection and to prevent further spread of the disease.”

According to the New York Times, Guantanamo Bay received a first shipment of the Moderna vaccine in early January, with a second shipment on the way, and has begun to vaccinate staff members.

Scalise and other Republicans also criticized a Monday announcement by the Department of Homeland Security of plans to vaccinate undocumented immigrants. Health officials say that vaccinating as many people as possible, no matter their immigration status, is the only way to achieve herd immunity for the general population.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


Read More
Biden campaign launches new ad focused on Affordable Care Act

Biden campaign launches new ad focused on Affordable Care Act

By Kim Lyons, Pennsylvania Capital-Star - May 08, 2024
Ohio doctors fear effects of emergency abortion care case set to go before U.S. Supreme Court

Ohio doctors fear effects of emergency abortion care case set to go before U.S. Supreme Court

By Susan Tebben, Ohio Capital Journal - April 23, 2024
House GOP votes to end flu, whooping cough vaccine rules for foster and adoptive families

House GOP votes to end flu, whooping cough vaccine rules for foster and adoptive families

By Anita Wadhwani, Tennessee Lookout - March 26, 2024
U.S. House Speaker Johnson says IVF should be protected — just not by Congress

U.S. House Speaker Johnson says IVF should be protected — just not by Congress

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - March 14, 2024
Idaho bill banning public funds for gender-affirming care goes to Senate

Idaho bill banning public funds for gender-affirming care goes to Senate

By Mia Maldonado, Idaho Capital Sun - March 14, 2024
Alabama passed a new IVF law. But questions remain.

Alabama passed a new IVF law. But questions remain.

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - March 11, 2024
AJ News
Latest
What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

What happens to clinics after a state bans abortion? They fight to survive.

By Chabeli Carrazana and Shefali Luthra - May 22, 2024
Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

Former Sen. Kelly Ayotte took job at Caterpillar after tax fraud probe

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024
Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

Alabama OB-GYN residencies dropped over 20% after Dobbs, state abortion ban, says analysis

By Alander Rocha, Alabama Reflector - May 21, 2024
House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

House GOP celebrates National Police Week while pushing to defund local law enforcement

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

Evolution denier Mark Robinson could reshape North Carolina’s education system

By Jesse Valentine - May 16, 2024
Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

Republican Jay Ashcroft backs anti-abortion clinics that push lies and disinformation

By Jesse Valentine - May 14, 2024
Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

Republican Sam Brown’s assault on teacher unions could backfire

By Jesse Valentine - May 09, 2024
Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

Florida abortion ban puts GOP Rep. Anna Paulina Luna’s anti-choice views in spotlight

By Jesse Valentine - May 07, 2024
Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

Trump leaves door open to banning medication abortion nationwide

By Jennifer Shutt, States Newsroom - April 30, 2024
Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

Republican Caroleene Dobson wants Alabama abortion ban to go nationwide

By Jesse Valentine - April 30, 2024
Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

Ohio Gov. DeWine said he didn’t know of millions in FirstEnergy support. Is it plausible?

By Marty Schladen, Ohio Capital Journal - April 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

GOP Rep. Zach Nunn suggests laws against hate crime aren’t needed

By Jesse Valentine - April 15, 2024
GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

GOP Senate candidate Hung Cao blames racial equity for Baltimore bridge tragedy

By Jesse Valentine - March 29, 2024
GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

GOP Rep. Jennifer Kiggans donates thousands to far-right extremists

By Jesse Valentine - March 08, 2024
Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

Ohio senate candidate Bernie Moreno: “Absolute pro-life no exceptions.”

By Jesse Valentine - March 07, 2024
Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

Anti-China Republicans pocket thousands from Chinese owned conglomerate

By Jesse Valentine - March 04, 2024
Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

Republican Eric Hovde makes inconsistent statements about family history

By Jesse Valentine - February 26, 2024
Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

Republican David McCormick invests millions in website that platforms Holocaust denial

By Jesse Valentine - February 09, 2024
Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

Lawmakers will again take up bills expanding, tightening gun laws

By Annmarie Timmins, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 31, 2024
UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

UAW delivers rousing presidential endorsement for Biden over ‘scab’ Trump

By Ashley Murray, States Newsroom - January 24, 2024
Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

Republicans Sam Brown and Jeff Gunter sling mud in Nevada senate primary

By Jesse Valentine - January 17, 2024
A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

A Young Texas Woman Almost Died Due To The Texas Abortion Bans – Now She’s Battling To Save Other Women

By Bonnie Fuller - January 10, 2024
Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

Health care legislation preview: Maryland advocates want to focus on access, patients in 2024 session

By Danielle J. Brown, Maryland Matters - January 08, 2024
How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

How GOP senate hopefuls try to excuse the  January 6 insurrection

By Jesse Valentine - January 05, 2024
NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

NH lawmakers will be taking up major voting bills this year. Here are some to watch for.

By Ethan DeWitt, New Hampshire Bulletin - January 04, 2024
Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

Republican US Senate candidates want to make Trump’s tax cuts permanent 

By Jesse Valentine - December 22, 2023
Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

Rand Paul went all in on the Kentucky governor’s race. It didn’t work.

By - December 15, 2023
Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

Texas governor and attorney general do little to curb state’s chemical plant crisis

By Jesse Valentine - December 08, 2023
Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

Likely GOP Senate candidate Eric Hovde proposed tax hike for poorer workers and retirees

By Jesse Valentine - December 07, 2023
Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

Whitmer signs specific criminal penalties for assaulting health care workers into law

By Anna Liz Nichols, Michigan Advance - December 06, 2023
105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

105 Republicans voted to expel Santos for things Trump has also done

By Jesse Valentine - December 05, 2023
For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

For Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, another Trump term is another chance to kill Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - December 04, 2023
Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

Florida Sen. Rick Scott backs Donald Trump in revived push to repeal Obamacare

By Jesse Valentine - November 30, 2023
Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

Tate Reeves took donations from power company that hiked customer rates

By Jesse Valentine - November 06, 2023
Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

Daniel Cameron ran on depoliticizing the Kentucky AG’s office. He made it more political.

By Jesse Valentine - November 03, 2023
Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

Republican operatives sound every alarm on current trajectory of 2023 governor’s race

By Adam Ganucheau, Mississippi Today - October 24, 2023
New rules protect pregnant workers, but red states sue over abortion provisions

New rules protect pregnant workers, but red states sue over abortion provisions

By Anna Claire Vollers - May 22, 2024
Democratic group unveils list of most corrupt 2024 candidates

Democratic group unveils list of most corrupt 2024 candidates

By Jesse Valentine - May 22, 2024
Dan Patrick rails against spending as state drops thousands on his office upgrades

Dan Patrick rails against spending as state drops thousands on his office upgrades

By Jesse Valentine - May 22, 2024
Republican Sen. Rick Scott claims Medicare fraud trial was “political persecution”

Republican Sen. Rick Scott claims Medicare fraud trial was “political persecution”

By Jesse Valentine - May 21, 2024