CNN's Acosta: "Instead of The Delta Variant, Why Not Call It The DeSantis Variant?" | Video | RealClearPolitics

CNN's Acosta: "Instead of The Delta Variant, Why Not Call It The DeSantis Variant?"

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CNN's Jim Acosta calls out GOP members' reluctance to push their supporters to get vaccinated as vaccination rates stall and the Delta variant continues to cause coronavirus cases to surge.



ACOSTA: As the Delta variant is raging across the US, the nation remains divided between states fighting the virus and states fighting the science states led by politicians who know better. Case in point, Florida.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: What is he so upset about Florida? His solution is he wants to have the government force kindergarteners to wear masks in school.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Florida's Republican governor Ron DeSantis is barring school districts in the state from enacting mask mandates. Nevermind that conservatives tend to support local control over their schools. That's only part of the problem.

The problem is that Florida has been one of the leaders in the U.S. in COVID cases just as kids too young to be vaccinated are heading back to the classroom. The Delta variant is slamming states where vaccination rates are lagging behind much of the country. The map is very clear there.

One of those Delta hotspots is Missouri where Senator Josh Hawley has been going after the Biden administration for requiring vaccinations for federal employees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. JOSH HAWLEY (R-MO): What we're seeing is Joe Biden and the left using a campaign of fear and intimidation in order to try to keep the country in a perpetual state of crisis and ultimately, decentralize control and power over people's lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: He seemed OK with fear and intimidation on January 6. But I digress. Hawley understands the importance of the vaccine. He's already gotten his. The big reason for vaccines for federal employees, of course, is that vaccination rates are too low to end the pandemic in this country. We are now dealing with the consequences of our actions.

The virus mutated into the Delta variant, which is now unleashing misery all over the U.S. Hospitals are filling up the number of dead rising again. So yes, governments corporations, they're requiring vaccinations and yes, some local leaders are calling on masks to return so kids can safely go back to school so we can prevent more lockdowns.

As this pandemic grinds on our top scientists warned the virus could mutate into other variants. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the next variant could be more contagious and more lethal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: You may soon relate to get another variant. And it is possible that that variant might be in some respects worse than the already very difficult variant we're dealing with now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Worse than the variant we're dealing with now. It makes sense then that some in the GOP have regrets. Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas says he now wishes he hadn't signed a law back in April, preventing local jurisdictions from enacting their own mask mandates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: And yes, in hindsight, I wish that had not become law. But it is the law and the only chance we have is either to amend it or for the courts to say that it has an unconstitutional foundation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Some Republicans have more than just regret. South Carolina congressman Ralph Norman tested positive for COVID. Norman and his GOP colleague, Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene has sued House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over masking requirements up on Capitol Hill.

Other reports are coming in about GOP politicians dying from COVID complications after they mocked vaccinations. And speaking of Greene, listen to what she had to say about health care workers going door to door encouraging people to get vaccinated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): In the south, we all love our 2nd Amendment rights. We're not really big on strangers showing up on our front door, aren't we? They might not like the welcome they get.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: DeSantis has put his own stamp in this anti-science crusade bashing Dr. Fauci, selling koozies and - shirts that say, Don't Fauci, my Florida. DeSantis had this to say to President Biden who urged GOP governors to get out of the way of the administration's COVID efforts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DESANTIS: So why don't you do your job? Why don't you get this border secure? And until you do that, I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: What about the border? It sounds like I know you are but what am I? What's next? I'm rubber and you're glue. Nana booboo.

Not exactly a JFK profile encouraged moment. We're like Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, another Delta variant hotspot, that Senator Kennedy recently told people in his state to vaccinate, or don't vaccinate, whatever.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): We need to spend all of our efforts, trying to convince folks that the costs of the vaccine are substantially less than the benefit. Let me say it again. If you don't want to take the vaccine, don't take it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Don't take it. Hold on. These politicians they know better. Take a look at this. DeSantis is a graduate of Harvard Law and Yale, Hawley went to Yale Law and Stanford, Kennedy studied at Oxford, UVA, and Vanderbilt. Anybody who's gone to an elite University not only passed a science class, but should also value expertise. And the experts are telling us to listen to the science, that it's better to be vaccinated, that masks will help in areas where COVID rates are soaring. And yet some of these GOP leaders won't say the science part out loud.

Just the other day and we've been talking about this, this afternoon, an 11-month-old girl in Texas, another heart had state had to be flown 150 miles away for treatment because hospital beds are full in her town. People should not have to die. So some politicians can own the lives. They're not owning anybody. But they may end up owning the pandemic. Because they're prolonging it.

Perhaps it's time to start naming these new variants that may be coming out after them. Instead of the Delta variant, why not call it the DeSantis variant? We could sell beer koozies that say don't Florida, my Fauci, and use the money to help pay for all the funerals that'll be coming in the days to come.

Coming up, a one-on-one interview with Amanda Knox years after her case captivated the world here why she's calling out a new movie starring Matt Damon, that's next.
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