California Gov. Gavin Newsom called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson and some other prominent conservatives, accusing them of spreading potentially deadly misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, singled out Mr. Carlson alongside Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, both Republicans, while speaking with reporters about vaccine hesitancy.
“We’re exhausted by the Ron Johnsons and the Tucker Carlsons. We’re exhausted by the Marjorie Taylor Greenes. We’re exhausted by the right-wing echo chamber that has been perpetuating misinformation around the vaccine and its efficacy and safety,” Mr. Newsom said during a news conference.
“We’re exhausted by the politicization of this pandemic and that includes mask wearing that has been equated to the Holocaust. It’s disgraceful, it’s unconscionable and it needs to be called out,” said Mr. Newsom.
Mrs. Greene, who has repeatedly compared efforts to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic with the Holocaust and segregation, fired back at Mr. Newsom later on social media.
Tagging his account, Mrs. Greene told Mr. Newsom on Twitter that Californians are sick of living under his “communist dictatorship” and condemned his efforts to combat the pandemic within his state.
“Shutting down businesses, closing churches, schools and beaches is disgraceful,” Mrs. Greene said. “Mandating vaccines against people’s will is unconscionable.”
“Disgraceful? Here’s a word — murderous,” Mr. Newsom responded on Twitter around 80 minutes later. “Your anti-vaccine lies are literally killing Americans. Your own supporters are following you off a cliff and into the ICU. Come clean about vaccines — they save lives.”
Mr. Johnson also took with Mr. Newsom on Twitter, accusing him of lacking “moral authority” and criticizing what the senator described as failed, “draconian” efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr. Newsom made the original remarks about Mr. Johnson, Mr. Carlson and Mrs. Greene during a news conference where he discussed requiring state workers to be vaccinated.
California, the nation’s most populous state, was the first in the country to impose coronavirus-related travel and business restrictions under a decision made by the Newsom administration in March 2020.
Sixteen months later, public health officials are urging adults to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease the coronavirus causes, amid the U.S. seeing a spike in infections and hospitalizations.
Vaccines are proven to reduce the likelihood of a person becoming sick or dying from COVID-19, which killed more than 608,000 people nationwide since the virus first emerged in the U.S. in early 2020.
Nearly half the U.S. population, 49.1%, is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California reports that 62.1% of its population is fully vaccinated.