CNN political commentator S.E. Cupp blasted Republicans on Wednesday for spreading misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines and declining to push for more people to get immunized as new cases begin to rise again in the U.S.
"Now, that there is a divide in the Republican Party over whether to get vaccinated against COVID, and whether to tell millions of Republican voters to consider doing the same is such a sad commentary on the state of Republican politics today," Cupp said.
She cited a slew of recent headlines regarding Republican lawmakers — including Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulWhite House debates vaccines for air travel Senate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment MORE (Ky.), Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanAllies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid Republican leaders misjudged Jan. 6 committee Watchdog group seeks ethics probe over McCarthy's Jan. 6 comments MORE (Ohio), Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida MORE (Ga.) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisPresident Biden's vaccination plan is Constitutional – and necessary Faith leaders call on Congress to lead the response to a global pandemic Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE — who have declined to push for vaccinations against COVID-19.
"The vaccine is life-saving, the vaccine is safe, the vaccine is effective, and the vaccine is how we're all eventually going to get back to some semblance of normalcy, the longer people refuse the longer we must wait in this awful state of pandemic limbo," Cupp said.
Cupp, a Republican, lambasted the GOP for allowing "the creep of conspiracy theories and anti-vax arguments to infect the party."
"The politicization of science and health safety has inarguably cost lives. It's also made us stupider and more susceptible to misinformation. Because when it's cloaked in patriotism or a political ideology, it's that much easier for many to believe," Cupp said.
Cupp opined that the Republican Party has created a "vicious cycle" in which it creates a distrust in science in order to "own the Libs," but is then forced to double-down on this distrust at times when trust in science is badly needed, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to appease their voters.
"So eventually telling the truth about science and health becomes an apostasy, treasonous, proof you are a sellout," Cupp said. "Ultimately Republicans are doing more to shrink their base than to grow it in more ways than one. It's bad politics but also it's just plain bad."
House GOP leaders on Thursday expressed confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines, but stopped short of encouraging people to get vaccinated. However, House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseOSHA faces big challenge with Biden vaccine mandate Overnight Health Care — Nicki Minaj stokes uproar over vaccines Republicans ask FDA for details on any White House pressure on boosters MORE (R-La.), second hight-ranking House Republican lawmaker, explicitly encouraged others to get vaccinated, saying he has "high confidence" in the shot.
Speaking to The Hill, top White House medical adviser Anthony FauciAnthony Fauci'Highest priority' is to vaccinate the unvaccinated, Fauci says Sunday shows - Boosters in the spotlight Fauci: Data for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson booster shots 'a few weeks' out MORE said Republican lawmakers who are now encouraging people to get vaccinated are doing “a very good thing."
“I was very pleased to hear Congressman Scalise ... make that statement about vaccines,” Fauci said. “That was very helpful.”
“There’s no doubt when you look at the distribution of unvaccinated people it certainly weighs very much more heavily towards Republicans in red states,” he added.