Two Republican House members are introducing a measure that will block a plan from the Biden administration, which was put on pause over the weekend, that would vaccinate terrorist suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay before the majority of Americans have received vaccinations for the coronavirus.
The measure from Reps. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) opposes “any plans by the United States Department of Defense to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to prisoners held at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay and detained during operations conducted during the Global War on Terrorism until all Americans have had the opportunity to be vaccinated,” according to the measure’s text, obtained by Fox News. It further states that “efforts by the United States Government to provide vaccinations for COVID-19 should prioritize United States citizens.”
“It is inexcusable and un-American that President Biden is prioritizing vaccines for Gitmo terrorist detainees over American citizens, including veterans, first responders, 9/11 first responders, and seniors,” Stefanik said in a statement. “Every American should have access to vaccines before these heinous terrorists.”
“Americans need to get the vaccine before terrorists, and it’s upsetting to me that that even was a question, and I think we need to make sure the administration is held accountable for this and that’s what I think this resolution does,” Hinson said in a statement. “It puts a spotlight on the thinking and the planning that was going on behind this.”
The Biden administration announced on Saturday that it was pausing giving coronavirus vaccines to “the 40 wartime prisoners at Guantánamo Bay after an outcry over whether the Defense Department was putting terrorism suspects before the American people,” The New York Times reported. “The 40 prisoners include Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is accused of being the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as well as six men who have been cleared for release by an interagency government panel.”
Defense Department Press Secretary John Kirby tweeted: “No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated. We’re pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols. We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe.”
No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated. We’re pausing the plan to move forward, as we review force protection protocols. We remain committed to our obligations to keep our troops safe.
— John Kirby (@PentagonPresSec) January 30, 2021
The New York Post reported that the original order to vaccinate the detainees “was signed on Jan. 27 by Terry Adirim, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs who was sworn in as a Biden appointee on Inauguration Day.”
Retired FDNY Lt. Michael O’Connell, who was one of the first responders on 9/11, developed an autoimmune disorder from breathing in the toxins that were in the air at the World Trade Center.
“This is a real kick in the balls. It’s very upsetting. It’s absolutely disgusting,” he said about the Biden administration’s plan. “These terrorists committed harm but the patriots are the ones who have to wait to get vaccinated. We responded within 10 seconds of when the first plane crashed into the building. Here we are a year later [since the COVID-19 outbreak] and the politicians can’t get it right on the coronavirus vaccine.”