President Biden raised eyebrows Thursday in North Carolina with a bizarre statement in which he claimed that “Latinx” people are less likely to get vaccinated against the coronavirus because “they’re worried that they’ll be vaccinated and deported.”
Biden traveled to Raleigh as part of a a nationwide “month of action” campaign meant to boost vaccination rates before the July 4 holiday. However, the president’s exhortation for people to get the shot was overshadowed by his strange aside, in which he also confused the Tuskegee Airmen — the heroic African American pilots of World War II — with the victims of the infamous decades-long Tuskegee syphilis study.
“There’s a reason why it’s been harder to get African-Americans, initially, to get vaccinated,” Biden said. “Because they’re used to being experimented on – Tuskegee Airmen and others. People have memories. People have long memories.
“It’s awful hard, as well, to get Latinx vaccinated as well,” the president continued. “Why? They’re worried that they’ll be vaccinated and deported.”
Critics took issue with Biden’s use of the favored woke term “Latinx” as well as the implication that many Latinos are in the US illegally.
“Excuse me, @JoeBiden?” asked Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R-Fla.)
“Only 3 [percent] of Hispanics use the term ‘Latinx’ and 76 [percent] have never heard of it,” tweeted former George W. Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen, citing an August 2020 Pew Research Center poll. “It’s a term woke White people have imposed on them against their will which is racist.”
“We should actually deport anyone who uses ‘Latinx’ unironically,” cracked Post op-ed editor Sohrab Ahmiri.
“It does not occur to Joe Biden that tens of millions of Latinos are American citizens,” tweeted former Trump 2020 campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.
“Almost 50 million [L]atino American citizens live here, why would we deport them?” agreed The Daily Caller Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Ingersoll.
“Get a driver’s license, compete on standardized tests, get a vaccine, be in the country legally … Is there anything Democrats assume minorities can do?” asked another Twitter user, @sunnyright.
“What is Latinx???” another user asked. “I would appreciate you stop calling us that. It’s offensive. I’m a #Latino and my wife is a #Latina. Somos #Latinos. Please get that straight!”
The White House acknowledged earlier this week that it will fall short of Biden’s stated goal of having 70 percent of US adults receive at least one vaccine dose by then, with the actual figure likely to be around 67 percent.
“The best way to protect yourself against the virus and its variants is to be fully vaccinated,” Biden said after he toured a mobile vaccination unit and met with frontline workers and volunteers. “It works. It’s free. It’s safe. It’s easy.”
As of late Thursday, 65.7 percent of American adults (more than 169.7 million people) had received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 145 million American adults (56.2 percent) were considered fully vaccinated.