Hannity says Biden should call Trump and thank him for his Covid response. That’s a stretch.

Fox News responded to President Joe Biden’s primetime announcement that all American adults would be eligible for a coronavirus vaccine by May 1. The country’s goal is to return to some semblance of normalcy by July 4th by insisting that former President Donald Trump actually deserves the credit. But this claim cannot stand the test.

While Trump’s Operation Warp Speed ​​program incentivized private companies to accelerate vaccine development and directly helped Moderna develop an effective vaccine, it wouldn’t necessarily be that vaccines wouldn’t be available today if it weren’t for Trump. The first FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine was developed by Pfizer last year without direct help from the federal government.

To be clear, Trump deserves credit for having developed several vaccines so quickly. As my colleague Dylan Scott reported last October, the multibillion dollar investment by the federal government in helping companies like Moderna and Johnson & Johnson develop vaccines has undoubtedly helped the country finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. Biden acknowledged this and said in December: “I think that the [Trump] The administration deserves some credit for making this happen [vaccine effort] from the ground, Operation Warp Speed. “

But vaccines are of little use if there is no plan to embrace them, and this is where Trump really fell short. As was the case when the U.S. struggled to expand coronavirus testing infrastructure in the early days of the pandemic, the Trump administration’s plan for vaccine distribution was little more than handing the money over to states with insufficient resources . Trump’s failure to plan the “last mile” resulted in episodes where unused vaccines were thrown away in the weeks leading up to Biden’s inauguration.

While it goes too far to say Trump doesn’t deserve credit, the criticisms Biden opened his prime-time speech with are absolutely fair.

“A year ago we were hit by a virus that fell silent and spread uncontrollably. Rejections for days, weeks, then months, “he said, alluding to Trump’s efforts to downplay the coronavirus before and during his failed re-election campaign. “It led to more deaths, more infections, more stress and more loneliness.”

“A year ago we were hit by a virus that hit silence and spread uncontrollably. Denials for days, weeks, then months. That led to more deaths” – Biden starts his big coronavirus speech with shots at Trump pic. twitter.com/gljYpCMLv5

– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 12, 2021

Biden kept walking, barely alluding to the former president the rest of the way. But he had already given Fox News something to resent.

“He kicks her in the groin”

It’s hard to spark a pandemic response that resulted in more than half a million dead Americans, but during a chatter about Biden’s speech on Friday morning, Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends tried it.

“We don’t have to go over the 500,000 dead. We had that moment, ”he said. “Let’s talk about the future. Every time he has the opportunity to praise the previous government, not only does he not praise it, he kicks it off. “

Brian Kilmeade: “We don’t have to go over the 500,000 dead, we had this moment. Let’s talk about the future. Every time he has the chance to praise the previous government, not only is he not praising, he is kicking it.” in the bar. “pic.twitter.com/n9OupjYfAF

– Bobby Lewis (@revrrlewis) March 12, 2021

Kilmeade’s suggestion that Biden make a cheap attempt by criticizing Trump’s coronavirus response was in line with what host Sean Hannity said shortly after speaking on his show.

“Joe Biden – he has to pick up the phone, I suggest calling Mar-a-Lago and, yes, bringing unity into the country as he says he wants so badly and thanking President Donald Trump,” he said. He later added, “No Trump, no vaccine, Joe. Stop acknowledging something, honestly, you had nothing to do with it. “

It is true that when Trump stepped down, about 1 million vaccines were being administered every day. But Biden nearly tripled that rate in less than two months.

Hannity’s comment that Biden “has nothing to do with the progress of the US vaccination effort” is incorrect. Biden has overseen the federal government on the purchase of hundreds of millions of vaccine doses, enabling the aggressive schedule he outlined on Thursday. And his government has overseen the development and implementation of vaccine distribution plans that rely on more than just states.

But the Fox News spin isn’t just impervious to reality. It is also insensitive to shame. A panel discussion on Hannity with former Trump chief of staff Reince Priebus and former Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany haunted Biden for being too prepared – evidence that Fox was ready to attack Biden if he said anything other than, “Thank you, Mr. Trump. You deserve all honor. “

While Hannity pounds Biden every night over minor verbal gaffes that he claims indicate some kind of cognitive impairment, a Chyron on his Thursday show denigrated Biden for merely “survival”[ing]”A” short, scripted speech. “Damn if he does, damn if he doesn’t.

It gets even more absurd

The far-fetched take on Kilmeade and Hannity was nothing compared to comments from Fox News host Mark Levin, who scolded so awkwardly on Hannity’s show that one had to wonder if he’d even seen the same speech.

“This speech that Joe Biden gave is the most disgusting, propaganda speech a demagogue, even a politician, has ever given,” said Levin. “It’s pathetic.”

Even the fact that Biden says the country is on track to safely hold small July 4th gatherings was backed up by Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, who both complained that Biden was acting like a tyrant by being Telling them what to do to make it classified as bad.

“How dare you tell us who to spend July fourth with?” Said Carlson.

“And then choosing Independence Day as the day he says he could allow people to congregate is just so un-American,” Fox News agent Mollie Hemingway said on Ingrahams Show. “Joe Biden can’t tell me when to have a barbecue in my yard.”

As ridiculous as it all may seem, this is a serious problem for most of the roughly 2.5 million people who watch Fox News primetime shows, which remain the top-rated shows on cable news even without Trump in the White House.

Then, on Friday morning, Hannity’s false and misleading abuse of how Biden was supposed to call Trump and thank him became like news from one of the network’s “News Side” shows illustrating one of the ways Fox was doing his The news cycle washes opinion content regularly.

Fox News is having a hard time with President Biden

Trump inherited the longest streak of job growth from former President Barack Obama when he took office, yet characterized the condition he inherited as “chaos” even in the earliest days of his administration. Fox did little to hold back that spin. The idea that Biden has a moral obligation to give Trump credit for anything is hypocritical at best.

But in its battle for land strikes against a popular president who has just signed a hugely popular $ 1.9 trillion Covid aid bill, Fox News normalizes the absurd by, for example, trying to turn the mundane into huge scandals and to associate Biden with issues of the culture war.

And it’s not just the primetime hosts. On Friday afternoon, Chris Wallace equated Biden by fairly criticizing Trump’s Covid response to Trump’s treatment of Obama, saying that Biden was “as gracious to his predecessor as Donald Trump was to his predecessor”.

Chris Wallace claims Biden is “about as gracious to his predecessor as Donald Trump was to his predecessor” by criticizing Trump’s Covid response. Reminder – Trump’s rise in politics in 11 was due to his spreading racial conspiracy theories that Obama was not really American. pic.twitter.com/ox7LabYpaf

– Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 12, 2021

As you may recall, Donald Trump gained political prominence in 2011 by promoting racist conspiracy theories that Obama is not really American. So Wallace’s comment is about as wrong as false equivalences can be.

It’s tempting to turn it off, especially given the lesser relevance of Fox News after Trump’s departure from the White House. But, as Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) demonstrated on Friday, elite Republicans share the same distorted worldview as Hannity.

“Thank god for the genius of the Trump administration,” Scott said during an interview with Fox News in response to Biden’s speech.

Scott’s claim will surely please Trump, who released a tweet-like statement earlier this week in which he said, “I hope everyone remembers when they receive the Covid-19 vaccine (often referred to as the China virus) when I do wouldn’t be president, you wouldn’t get this beautiful shot for 5 years at best and probably wouldn’t get it at all. I hope everyone remembers! “

But Scott’s praise for Trump is based on false premises. He claimed that thanks to Trump there were “300 million cans ready to be put into arms” on the first day of Biden’s presidency. But that’s not correct.

According to a recent fact-checking conducted by Kaiser Health News, Trump had contracted enough vaccines to vaccinate 200 million Americans by the time he stepped down. However, this is not the same as “cans ready to be picked up”. Aside from vaccinating health workers and people in assisted living facilities, Trump’s plan to embrace her was little more than addressing thoughts and prayers to states.

Unsurprisingly, the hosts of the “news site” Scott spoke to didn’t offer a pushback.

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