President Joe Biden said many GOP lawmakers have finally “seen the Lord” and begun promoting COVID-19 vaccinations for all Americans, while declaring that the U.S. now faces a “pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
During a campaign event in Arlington, Virginia, for Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Friday, Biden touted his administration for vaccinating more than 160 million Americans and creating “more jobs than any administration has in the first six months in presidential history.”
Biden commended numerous Republicans and conservative members of the news media for embracing the vaccines, dropping his latest religious reference to their sudden “epiphany” on the issue.
“And, by the way — you know the old expression — you notice a lot of our very conservative friends have finally had an ‘altar call,'” Biden said Friday, referencing a tradition among some Christian churches to invite people forward during services to make a public commitment to their faith in Jesus Christ.
“They’ve seen the Lord, whether it’s on Fox News or whether it’s the most conservative commentators or governors,” the president continued.
Biden, a practicing Catholic, has made several Christian and Biblical references in order to describe how many Republicans and conservative pundits have recently flipped their stances toward vaccinations.
This week, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, a Republican, made an impassioned plea with Alabamians to get vaccinated as she blamed a surge of so-called Delta variant cases on “unvaccinated folks.”
Biden told reporters in Hebron, Kentucky, on Wednesday that he is glad Republicans and Fox News commentators have “changed their tune” about the vaccines. The president suggested many GOP critics were only opposed to the COVID-19 vaccines to score cheap political points with anti-vaccination members of their base.
“I don’t know how many of them believed what they were saying,” Biden said. “But I think once the realization occurred that this virus was only killing primarily those people who had not been vaccinated I think it was, as we Catholics say, a bit of an epiphany for them. You know, it was a conversion on the way to Damascus or something.”
Louisiana, Missouri and Arkansas have all seen the largest surge in new coronavirus cases over the past 14 days.
“I know this has gotten a bit politicized but I hope it’s starting to change. It’s not about red states or blue states or guys like that hollering. It’s about life and it’s about death,” Biden said at the Virginia campaign event on Friday, referencing a pro-Trump heckler who was chanting in the crowd.
Biden went on to tout his administration’s efforts in rebooting the U.S. economy as he noted that economic growth is expected to be nearly double what was predicted at the beginning of the year.
Meanwhile, the White House declined on Friday to release any data on breakthrough COVID-19 cases among staff members.
“As many medical experts have said, inside and outside of the government, those who are vaccinated are protected from serious illness,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing. “Most are asymptomatic if they are individuals who are vaccinated.”
Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment.
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