GOP Senator Joni Ernst is facing intense criticism after being one of the first in line (like other senators) to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The Iowa senator became a trending topic on Twitter after she posed for a photo of herself getting the vaccine despite her public statements downplaying the pandemic. During a campaign event in September, Ernst accused doctors of inflating the number of COVID cases to line their own pockets. “These healthcare providers and others are reimbursed at a higher rate if COVID is tied to it, so what do you think they’re doing?” Ernst said. She also said that she is “so skeptical” of the death counts. Via Little Village News:
“Asked to clarify her remarks after the event, Ernst said that’s ‘what I’ve heard’ from healthcare providers, but wasn’t sure if that meant numbers were being inflated,” the Courier’s Annie Rivers reported.
“They do get reimbursed higher amounts if it’s a COVID-related illness or death,” Ernst told Rivers. “I heard the same thing on the news. … They’re thinking there may be 10,000 or less deaths that were actually singularly COVID-19. … I’m just really curious. It would be interesting to know that.”
The notable contrast between Ernst’s COVID remarks and her quickly hopping in line to get the vaccine caused a significant backlash on Twitter:
How it started: How it’s going: pic.twitter.com/9yFXKyYNuR
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) December 21, 2020
Who thinks Joni Ernst is a hypocritical piece of shit? https://t.co/xsJsvsvfTF
— SICK OF Agolf Twitler (@bblock29) December 21, 2020
— Christina Blackcloud (@wanasattia) December 21, 2020
— Mare: Love to Laugh/Laugh to Live (@KittyKittay) December 21, 2020
People died because of the misinformation Joni Ernst put out. Get to the back of the fucking line. https://t.co/kjNEwjgrY4
— Devin Duke (@sirDukeDevin) December 21, 2020
If you could line up every American by when they should get the vaccine, there'd be a special pen at the very end of the line—after 328.8 million Americans—where Joni Ernst would go. Instead she got vaccinated *months* before the majority of Americans. Makes us look like suckers. https://t.co/mwq8hLDBBw
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) December 21, 2020
— Megan L. Srinivas, MD MPH (@YourlocalIDdoc) December 21, 2020
Ernst joined Florida Senator Marco Rubio in being roundly roasted on Twitter after receiving the vaccine despite routinely attending superspreader events and joining his fellows Republicans in downplaying the severity of the pandemic. For a political party that routinely referred to the coronavirus as a hoax, they certainly didn’t hesitate to be first in line for the cure.