Remember in 2016 when Trump famously claimed, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”?
Shooting someone wouldn’t cost him support.
But the COVID vaccine certainly is.
Many of Trump’s previously most ardent sycophants have apparently approached the line they didn’t know they would ever have to decide whether or not to cross.
It came last week when “the former guy” admitted he had received a COVID-19 booster shot during an appearance on stage with former Fox so-called “news” host Bill O’Reilly, resulting in jeers from the crowd.
— No Spin News (@NoSpinNews) December 20, 2021
They are not boo-ing, they're saying booo…ster https://t.co/UB82yWfKml
— Amarnath Amarasingam (@AmarAmarasingam) December 20, 2021
Since then, those who had once proclaimed their fealty to “dear leader” are firing back.
Those so “outraged” about “cancel culture” are canceling Trump.
Here are some examples:
Alex Jones: “This is an emergency Christmas Day warning to Pres Trump. You are either completely ignorant .. or you are one of the most evil men who ever lived .. What you told Candace Owens is nothing but a raft of dirty lies.” pic.twitter.com/rNCNdvgNrm
— Ron Filipkowski (@RonFilipkowski) December 25, 2021
Anti-vaxxer condemns Trump and spreads vaccine misinformation. She's willing to scar her lungs and get long-term respiratory damage to own the libs. Let's go Brandon! pic.twitter.com/IW9BCv2Xpr
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) December 21, 2021
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, one of several who allegedly helped fund the January 6 “Stop the Steal” Rally that resulted in the domestic terror attack on the Capitol intending to violently subvert the constitutional process of certifying states’ electoral votes, is now is threatening to “dish all the dirt” on Trump.
Far-right pundit Candace Owens claimed Trump is just too old to understand how to locate the “obscure websites” harboring “the truth” about COVID and vaccines.
never thought i would see the day ben garrison turned on trump pic.twitter.com/6S89RL9UXz
— kim possible facts (@kimpossiblefact) December 23, 2021
“Donald Trump seems to be running out of friends at an accelerating rate, and it is his own behavior that is creating the distance. It’s a strange decision tree he’s climbing, and puts one in mind of the old saying: What do you call a leader with no followers? Just a guy taking a walk.”
Trump is even receiving some ironic sympathy from one of the most unlikely officials: Anthony Fauci.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director and Biden administration chief medical advisor commented to ABC‘s Jonathan Karl:
“I was a bit dismayed when former president Trump came out and made that statement and his followers booed him. I was stunned by that. I mean, given the fact of how popular he is with that group, that they would boo him, which tells me how recalcitrant they are about being told what they should do. And I think that his continuing to say that people should get vaccinated and articulating that to them in my mind is a good thing. I hope he keeps it up.”
Serious question: Which proto-fascist is going to fill the void after Donald Trump is gone?
While there is speculation Trump is angling to run again in 2024, opposition to “vaccine tyranny” has divided the country so effectively, it may be presenting an opportunity to a more extreme, competent fascist to usurp Trump’s exalted throne.
Imagine 2023 and 24, as the presidential race plunges us into the unrelenting world of polls, pundits, and presidential prognosticators, and the republican party’s primary issue is opposition to the vaccine.
There are already republican politicians setting this up.
Fla. Gov. Ron DeSantis is one.
In fact, Alex Jones even suggested DeSantis would be a better candidate.
Former Alaska Gov. and 2008 vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is another.
So is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Q-Anon Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green?
Texas Gov. Greg Abbot?
It will be also darkly interesting to see the number of republicans who aren’t anti-vaccine but will claim to have had an “epiphany” just to score political capital.
We have reached a point where a scientifically proven vaccine for a highly transmissible respiratory disease has become a political football.
It’s really just another red herring right wingers are using to distract the base from the real destruction the republican platform is doing.
If they were smart, republicans would be owning the vaccine.
While he botched the pandemic response, Trump was president when the vaccine was first approved for emergency use under Operation Warp Speed (OWS).
All they need to do is hammer that home for republican voters.
Since truth and context are never necessary in right-wing hate media enclaves, they don’t need to report on how the Biden administration walked into the White House on January 20, 2021 realizing its predecessor had “no plan” to vaccinate Americans, that the Biden administration was “starting from scratch.”
But the reason they don’t is because tethering Joe Biden and the congressional Democratic majority to spiking viral outbreaks and divisive rhetoric over the vaccine helps sabotage Democrats’ chances in 2022 mid-term elections and re-election to the White House in 2024.
If Trump had gotten re-elected, republicans would be hyping the vaccine even if it wasn’t enough for the whole country.
It and proof of it would be required, and they wouldn’t be calling it “tyranny” as they are now.
They’d call it “freedom.”
Since they’re not in charge, though, they’re singing a different tune.
And Trump is apparently singing a different song.
Image credit: les-phillips.com