Former President Donald Trump's politicization of COVID-19 was a key criticism of his final year in the White House.
Trump routinely mocked the usage of masks, which have been proven to slow the spread of the virus. He repeatedly undermined and disputed his own health officials. He railed against the closures of non-essential businesses like bars and gyms. He continued to hold packed campaign events filled with thousands of supporters who, following his lead, dispensed with the need to wear masks.
The consequences of this politicization are readily apparent. Less than a month ago, Trump's former Coronavirus Response Director, Dr. Deborah Birx, testified before a congressional subcommittee that 30 to 40 percent fewer lives would have been lost if the administration had fully implemented the safety protocols Trump vocally opposed. A Stanford study found that Trump's continued campaign rallies last year led to 30 thousand COVID-19 cases, all while he was mocking then-candidate Joe Biden for holding small campaign events for safety.
Even since Trump's presidency ended, the Republican party has continued to dismiss the threat of COVID-19 and paint Democrats as tyrants for implementing safety protocols, with some—such as GOP Congressman Ronny Jackson of Texas—even suggesting variants of the virus were drummed up by Democrats to benefit them in elections.
So naturally, Trump's former White House press secretary—Kayleigh McEnany—went on Fox News to accuse President Joe Biden of politicizing the coronavirus
Citing the supposed hypocrisy of the Biden administration's pandemic protocols, McEnany said:
"A t the end of the day, no one has politicized this virus more than President Joe Biden. ... It is a politicization of this virus on this campaign trail. They dismiss the policies; they eschewed the policies they are now putting in place. They were always effective... Where's the consistency rather than outright politicization of COVID 19?"
For her reasoning, McEnany falsely claimed that Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris said they wouldn't take the vaccine if Trump was in office when it became available. In reality, they both emphasized that they wouldn't take the vaccine if Trump—who routinely suggested bogus treatments such as injecting disinfectant—was the only one saying the vaccine was safe.
What's more, both Biden and Harris took the vaccine in late December of last year, while Trump was still President. Unlike Trump, they took the vaccine publicly to encourage others to get their shot as well.
McEnany then claimed the administration was being hypocritical on travel bans, citing its controversial decision to ban non-citizens traveling from South Africa from the United States in the face of the new omicron variant of the virus. Shortly after Trump instituted a travel ban on China last year, Biden called out his general record of "hysteria, xenophobia, and fear-mongering," but didn't mention the travel ban specifically. He went on to say he was making a broader point of Trump's xenophobia.
Despite CDC warnings that naming viruses after locations can lead to dangerous stigma, Trump repeatedly described COVID as a "Chinese Virus" and even "Kung Flu". At least one study linked his use of "Chinese Virus" to an uptick in racist hashtags against Asian Americans. According to the FBI, hate crimes against Asian Americans rose 73 percent over the course of Trump's last year in office.
Social media users were amazed at McEnany's delusion that Biden politicized the virus more than Trump.
They decried her comments as complete disinformation.
McEnany received similar criticisms about her tenure as White House press secretary.