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Tipsheet

Former Democratic Senator Says the GOP ‘Owns’ the Deaths of Unvaccinated Americans

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Former Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill (MO), who is now an MSNBC analyst, said on Monday that the GOP’s “failure to accept science” means they “own” the deaths of Americans who were unvaccinated against the Wuhan coronavirus.

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McCaskill made the remarks during MSNBC’s “Deadline” segment Monday. In the segment, host Ayman Mohyeldin asked the former senator her thoughts on COVID-19 deaths and GOP Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ response to the pandemic and how he prioritized Floridians’ freedom.

“What do you make of the GOP response and hypocrisy, right? Even think of Gov. DeSantis in Florida who said, his guiding principle throughout the pandemic wasn’t science, wasn’t the lives of Floridians, it was freedom,” Mohyeldin asked.

“Yeah. Well, I do think that he is playing to a very small segment of the American public,” McCaskill responded. “I think most Americans realize this was real and dangerous. But I really think Democrats need to continue to pound the podium about vaccinations. Not just for seniors and not just for adults, but also for children, to continue to pound the podium on boosters. We know now that even with Omicron, that the deaths and the serious illnesses were really focused on people who refused to accept science. Those Republicans own that, their failure to accept science as it relates to vaccines. I mean, that’s much stronger ground to stand on than to mask or not mask.”

McCaskill added that “it has become so political that you just basically, people are so calcified in their positions about masks, you can’t really move the needle in terms of keeping people safe or gaining political traction.”

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DeSantis, who is vaccinated against COVID-19, made headlines last month for refusing to disclose if he got a booster shot. Late last year, he signed legislation that protected Floridians from losing their jobs due to vaccine mandates.

“I told Floridians that we would protect their jobs,” DeSantis said in a press release. “Nobody should lose their job due to heavy-handed COVID mandates and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida.” 

In September 2020, President Biden remarked that he did not trust President Trump’s “warp speed” development of the coronavirus vaccine. 

“Let me be clear: I trust vaccines, I trust scientists, but I don’t trust Donald Trump,” Biden said, according to Reuters. “At this moment, the American people can’t either.”

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