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Chris Cuomo clashes with Texas GOP rep over 'jackassery' of GOP's anti-vax message

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Chris Cuomo invited Republican Texas state Rep. Michael Burgess onto Cuomo Prime Time Wednesday, where the two got into it over the anti-vaccine message coming from many in the GOP and from right-wing media. While Burgess, a doctor, said he believes the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and people should get vaccinated, he was reluctant to denounce the opposite message being spread by his colleagues.

After showing a mash-up of right-wing pundits and Republican members of Congress discouraging people from getting vaccinated and spreading lies about the vaccine, Cuomo said to Burgess, “You’re OK with this kind of jackassery that has absolutely led to a deficiency among Republican people in this country taking the vaccine, and now they’re getting sick? And now we’re seeing what we see at the hospitals. And now the age is reducing and the variant is spreading. You’re OK with this?” “You’re conflating a number of things,” Burgess replied.

Cuomo pointed out the unfortunate effects the GOP’s messaging on the vaccine has had, and the congressman agreed that this is the message his party should be spreading.

“The people showing up at the hospital who are very sick are, almost without exception, unvaccinated. The people who are dying, 99 percent, are unvaccinated,” Cuomo said. “You have people who are connected to your political party that you are not speaking out against who are telling people not to take it. You're OK with that?” “That is the message that people should be getting,” Burgess responded. “Who is showing up at the hospital sick? It is unvaccinated people.”

Cuomo went on to challenge Burgess to denounce the anti-tax message being spread by so many in his party.

“Why don’t you call out the people who are giving an opposite, ignorant and toxic message on why not to take it?” Cuomo asked, to which Burgess replied, “Oh, I have discussions with people all the time.” “But say it now,” Cuomo retorted. “Say that what I just showed you in that video is wrong for people to be doing on TV, that members of Congress from your party that are saying don’t take the vaccine are wrong.”

Burgess finally relented and said, flat out, that anti-vaxxers within the GOP are wrong.

“Don’t listen to people on political talking shows,” Burgess said. “That’s not where you should get your medical information.” “ But what about from members of Congress who say don’t take the vaccine, I don’t buy it?” Cuomo asked. “I’m telling you to take it,” Burgess said, “so buy that.” “What about people who say otherwise?” Cuomo prodded once again. “Well, they’re wrong,” Burgess finally admitted. “Take the vaccine if you’re in the age group where you could be devastated by the illness.”

Cuomo Prime Time airs weeknights at 9 p.m. on CNN.

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