Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann are walking back demands that Texans should be denied the COVID-19 vaccine after the governor lifted the state’s mask mandate and opened all businesses.
Both Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann were hit with backlash on Mar. 3 when each of the men tweeted that Texans should be denied the COVID-19 vaccine, in the wake of Governor Greg Abbott opening all state businesses while simultaneously lifting the mandatory face mask order. But they were quickly hit with comments that the citizens of the state shouldn’t have to be penalized for the poor public health decisions of their politicians.
“Texas – we hear you. You didn’t want to be part of our electrical grid. And now you’ve removed your mask mandate & are allowing large crowds to gather. We hear you! COVID is a hoax! So u don’t need our precious vaccine. We’ll send it to ppl who are saving lives by wearing masks,” filmmaker Moore, 66, initially tweeted on Mar. 3.
The day prior, Keith, 62, had tweeted “Why are we wasting vaccinations on Texas if Texas has decided to join the side of the virus?” while sharing Abbott’s statement about the full reopening of Texas, though COVID-19 is still not under control. After his tweet got more widespread attention, the political commentator said on Mar. 3, “What I wrote here was a question: if the authorities in Texas are clearly and belligerently siding with the virus against humanity, why are we sending the vaccines there now? Vaccinations cannot, by themselves, overcome a Governor advocating for mass suicide.”
After getting hit with furious comments such as “They’re Americans. Lots of Texans aren’t the Governor,” Keith apologized in a tweet reading: “This was needlessly harsh and I apologize for it. I want (and wanted) everybody in Texas to get the vaccine. But it is heartbreaking to know its effect will be undermined by the idiots who run your state. I’ve apologized. Now YOU guys get Abbott, Cornyn, Cruz, out of office,” referring to the state’s two Republican U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, who backed Abbott’s decision.
Moore on the other hand hasn’t apologized, but said Texans should get the vaccine and their politicians voted out of office. After his initial tweet, the Fahrenheit 9/11 filmmaker followed it up several hours later explaining himself. “Yes, we must and will find a way to vaccinate the poor and people of color in Texas. To Texans who say, hey, it’s not me – it’s the Governor! Well, then, impeach and remove him. We’re tired of this. Don’t mess with Texas? Happy to oblige,” one read.
Michael added that, “Btw – Houston is the first city in the country to record the presence of ALL the new variants of the coronavirus. The rest of us must find a way to protect ourselves from the policies and politicians of Texas,” and wrote that “Texas is no longer majority white. The 57% majority is Latinx and Black and Asian and Native American. So let’s do everything we can to help that majority remove the bigots and ignoramuses from office. It’s killing them, and it’s killing us.”
Moore and Olbermann were called out for their tweets by fellow users, with @faceyouhate stating simply, “I expected better from Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann.” User @scott_tobias retweeted Moore’s original message and wrote, “What is with this sh*t? People held captive by the poor decisions of their elected officials do not deserve to be cut off from important life-saving services. Why does this even need to be said?”
@adamcbest pointed out, “What Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann are forgetting (besides humanity) is that TX is the most voter suppressed state. 750 polling places closed. Discriminatory voter ID. Grotesque gerrymandering. All this contributes to low turnout. Only 4.7M Texans out of 29M voted for Abbott.” Even legendary newscaster and native Texan Dan Rather got in some subtle shade about Moore and Olbermann’s comments, tweeting, “Greetings from Texas. There are millions here who believe in masks and public health. To the rest of America, please understand this is a complex and diverse state – divisive hot takes from some notwithstanding.” Once again, the 89-year-old broadcasting icon is the voice of reason amid a loud debate.
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