President Donald Trump is opposed to White House staffers getting some of the first doses of the recently authorized coronavirus vaccine.
Trump also made it clear this week that he is not planning on taking the vaccine yet.
“People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you!” Trump tweeted Sunday.
People working in the White House should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary. I have asked that this adjustment be made. I am not scheduled to take the vaccine, but look forward to doing so at the appropriate time. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2020
However, not everyone in the federal government is following the president’s sentiment.
Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence took the vaccine publicly Friday morning on live TV as part of an effort to show the American people the vaccine is safe.
Congressional leaders are also participating in the effort to increase public trust and awareness.
Just received the safe, effective COVID vaccine following continuity-of-government protocols. Vaccines are how we beat this virus.
Now back to continue fighting for a rescue package including a lot more money for distribution so more Americans can receive it as fast as possible. pic.twitter.com/kSBhI3EzzM
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) December 18, 2020
Today, with confidence in science & at the direction of the Office of the Attending Physician, I received the COVID-19 vaccine. As the vaccine is being distributed, we must all continue mask wearing, social distancing & other science-based steps to save lives & crush the virus. pic.twitter.com/tijVCSnJd7
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) December 18, 2020
Dr. Brian Monahan, the congressional attending physician, said in a letter to members of Congress and Capitol Hill staff that lawmakers and some of their staffers will have vaccines made available to them “to meet long-standing requirements for continuity of government operations,” according to Reuters.
While the logic behind having high-level government officials publicly taking the vaccine makes sense, it also has bad optics.
Top government officials getting top priority on a vaccine that should probably be going almost exclusively to the elderly, those with pre-existing conditions and front-line workers first reaffirms the narrative championed by many populists that many things are only privileges for the elite.
Florida Republican Rep. Brian Mast raised concerns about members of Congress getting early access to the vaccine.
“Leaders eat last; it’s one of the first lessons a solider learns as early as basic training,” Mast said in a statement. “Speaker Pelosi apparently never learned this lesson — asking Americans to wait to get vaccinated while Congress cuts the line is the opposite of leadership.”
“Congress needs to stop treating itself as a special political class, and the mere suggestion that Members of Congress are in any way more important than the very people who gave us the privilege of serving in Congress is appalling. Being for the people must always mean putting the people before ourselves, which is why every single American should be able to access the coronavirus vaccine before any Member of Congress,” he continued.
There are many vulnerable Americans who would likely want to get the vaccine as soon as possible, but of course, Congress gets their hands on it early.
It’s not a great look, to say the least.
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