Although the Democratic Party has been largely in lockstep on most issues amid unilateral opposition to President Donald Trump, a few in the party have opted to break ranks on some hot-button topics.
U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), for example, has opposed her fellow Democrats on multiple recent occasions — including her insistence this week that the nation’s elderly population receive the COVID-19 vaccine before young, healthy legislators.
“Immoral and bad health policy”
Her tweet on the topic took aim at members of Congress who received the first round of the Pfizer vaccine.
“Heartless, arrogant, unelected [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] bureaucrats have decided that the lives of elderly Americans don’t count,” Gabbard tweeted on Monday.
She went on to call it “immoral and bad health policy” for otherwise healthy elected officials and essential workers to receive the first vaccine doses available.
“They’re recommending 100 million ‘essential workers’ (i.e. healthy people working at liquor stores or phone companies) can get the vaccine before our grandparents,” she wrote.
Gabbard further proclaimed that she would be boycotting the vaccine until the nation’s aging population had been inoculated. She urged members of Congress who are healthy and “under the age of 65” to join her in doing the same.
“I’m with you Tulsi!”
For his part, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) reached across party lines to signal his support for her cause, retweeting her video and adding: “I’m with you Tulsi!”
Gabbard made her case just a few days after 31-year-old Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) received her vaccination in a live social media video, encouraging her many followers to ask questions throughout the process.
In a more formal break with party leaders, she voted against the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill, joining Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) as the only two Democrats to oppose it. Gabbard appeared to take issue with the sum being distributed through direct stimulus checks to American citizens, calling the amount a “slap in the face” as part of a scathing tweet on the matter.
$600 is a slap in the face to every American struggling due to the pandemic. You deserve better.
I voted against the 5,593-page spending bill that gave billions to corporate interests, the military industrial complex & other countries, leaving crumbs for you who need help most. pic.twitter.com/82F1HYF43T
— Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) December 22, 2020
Gabbard’s term in the House is set to conclude after the current session of Congress after she chose not to seek re-election.