Newsmax host Emma Rechenberg was left flailing on Friday morning when she attempted to blame Vice-President Kamala Harris for vaccine hesitancy, only for her guest to turn the tables and highlight former President Donald Trump’s infamous suggestion that COVID-19 patients ingest bleach as a cure.
Appearing on Newsmax’s The National Report ostensibly to promote his book Battle for the Soul, a behind-the-scenes look into the Democrats’ 2020 campaign to defeat Trump, Atlantic staff writer Edward-Isaac Dovere instead spent much of his time deflating the Trump-adoring channel’s narratives about Harris and the Biden administration.
Kicking off the interview by playing an out-of-context soundbite from the 2020 election which featured Harris saying she wouldn’t take a vaccine if only Trump said it was safe, Rechenberg asked if the veep was the right person for the administration to task with addressing vaccine hesitancy across the country at the present moment.
“Let’s think about the context of that clip that you just played,” Dovere flatly responded. “She was speaking after President Trump had told people that maybe they should inject bleach into their bodies. So the frustration that people felt with what guidance they were getting. President Trump was playing into a lot of the hesitancy of that vaccine.”
Dovere went on to note that while Trump would eventually get vaccinated, the former president only did so in secret during a time when other former presidents were getting their shots on camera and advocating the public to take the vaccines.
Rolling her eyes, Rechenberg contended that Trump never technically said that people should “inject bleach,” only for Dovere to remind her what the ex-president directly said during a COVID-19 task force press conference last year.
“He talked about how we could put some kind of disinfectant into our bodies,” he pushed back. “That’s what was going on there. And we see the result of that.” Pointing out that Trump also didn’t participate in a PSA that featured the other living ex-presidents urging people to take the vaccine, Dovere suggested that Trump’s evasiveness about the safety and efficacy of vaccines has played a role in vaccine hesitancy among certain demographic groups. (Trump, meanwhile, has said in some interviews recently that people should get a vaccine.)
“But the leadership from President Trump, which is what Kamala Harris was referring to in that clip you showed, that is what was driving that aspect of it,” he added.
That wouldn’t be the only bubble-popping Dovere did during his Newsmax hit. Towards the end of the interview, Rechenberg wanted to know if Dovere’s sources had told him whether Harris was ready to immediately fill in for Biden, hinting that the 78-year-old president may step down soon.
“We’ve shared some polling with our viewers that perhaps they don’t believe Joe Biden will finish out his term as president,” she declared. “Has she given any indication that should be willing to step up, that she might think the same way?”
“There is no expectation that Joe Biden will not fill out his term, and Joe Biden said he plans to run for a second term,” he said. “Have no reason to doubt that he is not telling the truth about that.”