Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-Texas) on Thursday tried to shame Democrats for not saying whether they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 ― except every Democratic lawmaker is vaccinated and has confirmed as much, unlike a huge portion of Republicans who either aren’t vaccinated or won’t say.
Jackson, a former White House physician, was trying to deflect a question from a reporter about whether it hurts Republicans’ efforts to urge the public to get vaccinated when so many of them won’t disclose their own status.
“I think you as a press have a responsibility to ask questions of the Democrats as well,” Jackson said. ”How many of the Democrats are willing to say whether or not they’ve been vaccinated?”
In fact, as of mid-May, House and Senate Democratic lawmakers have had a 100% vaccination rate, according to a CNN survey of all lawmakers.
That same survey found that at least 44.8% of House Republicans and 92% of Senate Republicans are vaccinated. But 112 GOP offices did not respond to multiple CNN inquiries on their vaccination status.
Jackson went on to raise questions about the vaccination status of the more than 50 Texas Democratic legislators who are in Washington, D.C., this month. They are hunkered down in the nation’s capital through early August to break a quorum in the Texas state House to stop a voter suppression bill. In recent days, six of them have tested positive for the coronavirus, despite being vaccinated.
“What about the Texas delegation?” asked Jackson. When a reporter pointed out they are all vaccinated, he suggested some may be lying.
“Well, they’ve said that, including the six that tested positive. Do we have any evidence of that?” he asked. “I highly doubt that all six people were vaccinated and tested positive for this virus. So, you guys need to hold their feet to the fire.”
HuffPost reached out to one of those Texas Democrats, state Rep. James Talarico of Round Rock, to confirm they are all vaccinated.
“Yep!” said Talarico. “So are all our staff members.”
None of the COVID-19 vaccines is 100% effective, and with the new and more contagious delta variant of the virus taking hold, there will be more instances of breakthrough cases, where people who are fully vaccinated are testing positive.
The bottom line, though, as Jackson should know as a physician, is that the vaccine is working as intended: It is preventing people from getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19, and when there is a breakthrough case, the symptoms are far less severe or not even detectable.
Jackson served as physician to the president from 2013 to 2018 under Barack Obama and then Donald Trump. During his time with Trump, Jackson was ridiculed for praising the president’s “incredibly good genes” and telling Trump that “he might live to be 200 years old” if ate better.
In March 2021, the Department of Defense inspector general released a scathing report about Jackson’s conduct in the White House, concluding that he made “sexual and denigrating” comments about a female subordinate, violated the policy on drinking alcohol on a presidential trip and took prescription-strength sleeping medication that prompted worries from his colleagues about his ability to provide proper medical care.