Tulsi Gabbard, former Democrat turned Fox News contributor, and suspected Russian asset, without a single medical or public health credential, was Fox & Friends’ vaccine “expert” this morning as she helped host Brian Kilmeade attack Dr. Anthony Fauci, a real expert, and the military (a regular Fox target, except when they can weaponize it against Democrats) for trying to keep its members healthy.
By coincidence, Republicans want to hold the military budget hostage to their desire to remove COVID protections from those who serve. So what a surprise (not!) that Gabbard and Kilmeade were helping with the messaging.
As of yesterday, an average of 261 people die from COVID every day in the U.S. But Kilmeade suggested that’s nothing for anyone to care about. He shook his head, saying, “Really? We’re still kicking out people from a military that is desperate for people, for this reason?” he sneered.
“It makes absolutely no sense,” Gabbard said. Then she quickly pivoted to weaponizing the issue against her former party. “It just points to, frankly, the failure of leadership, both within the DOD and in politicians in Washington, including President Biden. How can they say that they have a recruiting problem without actually looking in the mirror and recognizing, hey, maybe that problem starts with me as a leader in the DOD?”
FACT CHECK: There are many factors regarding recruitment problems that have nothing to do with COVID vaccines, such as a competitive job market and obesity, which neither pundit mentioned. It speaks volumes that neither of these two cited any statistic indicating that the vaccine mandate has anything to do with recruitment problems.
Then Gabbard pretended to know more about public health than Dr. Fauci. “I know people, personally, Brian who have been kicked out of the military, some who’ve served 10 years, 20 years, 25 years, all because of this mandate that makes no sense, and, frankly, is based on a lie that Fauci and others continue to propagate as they have throughout this whole thing, which is these vaccines will prevent you from catching COVID, and that it will prevent you from spreading COVID.”
FACT CHECK: The CDC does not say vaccines prevent you from catching COVID nor that they prevent the spread. It says they help protect severe illness and help protect those around them.
Kilmeade did not correct amateur Gabbard’s false proclamation.
So, she continued, “The fact that this is even a question at this point whether or not to lift this DOD mandate, and that Secretary Austin is opposing it is just absolute madness.” She called it a “crazy policy” and “those who were kicked out under this wrongheaded decision should be reinstated with back pay.”
Kilmeade indicated he knew she was wrong but failed to say so. Instead, he wimped, “You want to lessen the symptoms and some of the other things if there is a shot out there that works and it’s the American shot, I get it, certainly not the Chinese shot.”
Then he spewed his own amateur falsehoods. “But if you get the original shot, we’re four variants in from that shot. It’s going to be totally ineffective.”
FACT CHECK: The CDC says vaccines still offer protection against “severe illness, hospitalization, and death” but “reduced protection over time against mild and moderate disease, especially among certain populations.” In other words, not “totally ineffective,” as the also unqualified Kilmeade claimed.
But, as a chart showed military branches behind on recruiting, Kilmeade declared, “Let’s be practical for once in our governmental lives.”
Gabbard went on to say that a vaccine mandate – which protects health - sends a message that “the leaders of this country don’t appreciate those who have raised their hands and volunteered to serve and lay their lives down in service to this country.”
She added, “They’re more concerned about, you know, being pleasing or popular to the woke people who really think that this is the most important thing and are actually refusing to look at science than they actually care about doing what’s best for people.”
“Dr.” Gabbard acknowledged that COVID is “a very real disease” that poses “a great risk to vulnerable populations.” Then she suggested that Fox’s elderly viewers, i.e. a vulnerable population, could skip vaccines in favor of other treatments. “Those who are concerned about it have options available to them, one of them being a vaccine,” she said. She also claimed the mandate is “undermining what they’re trying to accomplish with these recruiting goals.”
The two wound up the discussion with a moment of pure projection. “Admiral Kirby and General Austin selling out their brethren is inexcusable,” Kilmeade said.
You can watch Kilmeade and Gabbard inexcusably selling out the military below, with Fox News approval, from the December 6, 2022 Fox & Friends.
The artefacts of such collisions, while often very short-lived, produce a great deal of noise, but remarkably little light.