Press: Two big lies are harming America

Press: Two big lies are harming America
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We’re in trouble. Americans are riven today, not by one, but by two big lies. One, Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCuban embassy in Paris attacked by gasoline bombs Trump Jr. inches past DeSantis as most popular GOP figure in new poll: Axios Trump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race MORE’s big lie that he, not Joe Biden, won the 2020 election. Two, that the coronavirus vaccine is ineffective and unsafe.

The real problem is not that these two big lies are patently untrue. It’s that the 2020 lie and the vaccine lie, which are in no way related, have, in fact, been tied together and spread together by Trump supporters. Today, most of those claiming that the election was stolen from Trump in 2020 are the very same people opposing the vaccine. In so doing, as President BidenJoe BidenTrump endorses Ken Paxton over George P. Bush in Texas attorney general race GOP lawmakers request Cuba meeting with Biden For families, sending money home to Cuba shouldn't be a political football MORE charged last week, “they are killing people.”

The evidence is incontrovertible. After it looked like we’d finally turned the corner, we’re back in crisis mode. Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are up again, especially as the highly transmissible Delta variant takes hold. According to the CDC, new cases are up 70 percent from the previous week; hospitalizations, 36 percent; deaths, 26 percent.

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Why? Because so many Americans, fed lies by anti-vaxxers, refuse to get vaccinated. Almost all new cases, hospitalizations, and deaths occurred in states where vaccination rates are low. Just a handful of states with low vaccination rates – Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, and Nevada — report a plurality of new cases.

In fact, according to the CDC, 97 percent of people currently hospitalized for severe Covid-19 infections were unvaccinated. What does that tell you? That the vaccine works. All of them: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. That those who refuse to take the vaccine are putting themselves in danger, as well as their friends and family. And that anybody who casts doubt on the efficacy of the vaccine has blood on their hands.

And yet, the Trumpers — again, the same people who insist Trump actually won the 2020 election — continue their war on the vaccine. This month, Georgia’s wacky 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 (R) urged Americans to “just say no” to the vaccine. North Carolina’s Madison Cawthorn (R) warned that Biden’s plan for volunteers going door-to-door to reach millions of unvaccinated Americans means the federal government could seize “your guns” and “your Bibles.” Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGrassley pressured to run as Democrats set sights on Iowa Sunday shows preview: Bipartisan infrastructure talks drag on; Democrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe Democrats question GOP shift on vaccines MORE (R-Wis.) continues to peddle the lie that natural immunity against COVID’s as good as vaccine immunity.

Meanwhile, Trump himself made the same connection. On July 18, he put out a statement blasting Joe Biden: “He’s not doing well at all. He’s way behind schedule, and people are refusing to take the Vaccine because they don’t trust his Administration, they don’t trust the Election results, and they certainly don’t trust the Fake News, which is refusing to tell the Truth.”

Notice: Trump links no trust in election with no trust in vaccine. Which is not only dangerous, but makes no sense politically. Instead of dumping on the vaccine, Trump should be taking credit for it. Whatever you think of his presidency, Trump did a good job pushing for speedy development of an anti-Covid vaccine. Operation Warp Speed was a huge success. Without it, we might still be struggling without a vaccine. Yet, instead of championing his success, Trump and his backers are undermining it and putting the lives of more Americans at risk.

In the end, there’s only one person who can fix this mess: Donald Trump himself. It’s time for Trump to stand up and say: Whatever you think about 2020, that’s a different issue. On COVID-19, let me be clear: I’ve been vaccinated and I think you should be, too. What a great show of leadership that would be. Don’t hold your breath.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”