CNN anchor and chief domestic correspondent Jim AcostaJames (Jim) AcostaNIH director pleads with evangelicals to 'look at the evidence' on vaccines Democrats brace for battle on Biden's .5 trillion spending plan Clyburn: 'You may not need .5 trillion to do what the president wants done' MORE on Saturday called out several GOP politicians who have pushed back on mandatory masking and COVID-19 vaccination, suggesting new coronavirus variants be named after them.
Acosta went after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisChicago sues police union over refusal to comply with vaccine mandate Crist says as Florida governor he would legalize marijuana, expunge criminal records Big businesses are siding against Texas in mandate fight MORE (R) and other Republicans during a segment Saturday afternoon, saying the politicians "know better" as the number of COVID-19 cases rises across the country due to the highly transmissible delta variant.
“People should not have to die so some politicians can own the libs. They’re not owning anybody,” Acosta said. “But they may end up owning the pandemic, because they’re prolonging it.”
He noted that DeSantis signed an order last week to ban mask mandates in public schools and other places, despite a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Florida, and aired video of GOP Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyBiden's push for unity collides with entrenched partisanship The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike The Memo: Culture war intensifies over school boards MORE (Mo.) criticizing the Biden administration for mandating that federal workers receive the vaccine.
Acosta also bashed DeSantis for selling merchandise on his campaign website going after Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFDA advisory panel scheduled to discuss Merck COVID-19 antiviral pill Feehery: Build back bipartisan Overnight Health Care — Presented by The National Council on Mental Wellbeing — Merck asks FDA to authorize five-day COVID-19 treatment MORE, President BidenJoe BidenJill Biden campaigns for McAuliffe in Virginia Fill the Eastern District of Virginia Biden: Those who defy Jan. 6 subpoenas should be prosecuted MORE's chief medical adviser, including koozies reading "Don't Fauci my Florida," as well as the governor's remarks telling Biden to focus on the border and not his state's mask policies.
"Perhaps it's time to start naming these new variants that may be coming out after them," Acosta said, referring to the GOP politicians. "Instead of the delta variant, why not call it the DeSantis variant?"
"We can sell beer koozies that say 'Don't Florida my Fauci' and use the money to pay for all the funerals in the days to come," he added.