Months after being shouted down by Trump supporters in an airport for relenting in his defense of Trump's election lies, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is once again facing the wrath of his own base—this time, for having the audacity to encourage vaccinations against the deadliest pandemic in American history.
The vaccines, which have been proven safe and effective, and policies mandating them for certain sectors of employment and patronization have been the subject of widespread vilification on the right. Conspiracy theories that the vaccines are microchipped, magnetized, or even the mark of the beast have become mainstream in some right-wing circles.
Efforts to encourage vaccinations—mandatory or otherwise—have been compared to historical atrocities and decried as federal oversteps.
At a recent event, Graham spoke against vaccine mandates, but encouraged the Republicans in attendance to get vaccinated. They responded with shouts of objection and conspiracy theories.
Graham simply said:
"If you haven't had the vaccine you ought to think about getting it because if you're my age—"
The crowd responded with shouts and boos.
He then said:
"I didn't tell you to get it, you ought to think about it."
Graham later pointed out that 92 percent of those in South Carolina hospitals with COVID were unvaccinated, to which the crowd responded "Not true!" As another man lamented the possibility of being fired for his refusal to be vaccinated, Graham shrugged.
No one felt sorry for the Senator, even in the face of nonsense.
Some say GOP Senators like Graham can no longer control the base they helped radicalize.