GOP lawmakers introduce resolution opposing Guantanamo vaccinations before American citizens

GOP lawmakers introduce resolution opposing Guantanamo vaccinations before American citizens

February 1, 2021

Pentagon pauses plan to vaccinate Guantanamo detainees

The Pentagon announced it will halt plan to vaccinate Guantanamo Bay inmates

EXCLUSIVE – Two House Republican lawmakers are introducing a resolution in the chamber that opposes a now-paused plan by the Biden administration to vaccinate detainees at Guantanamo Bay – arguing that suspected terrorists should only get the shot after it’s been made available to all Americans.

The resolution, by Reps. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa 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.”

PENTAGON HALTS PLAN TO OFFER COVID-19 VACCINATION TO GITMO DETAINEES, AMID BACKLASH 

“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 thats what I think this resolution does,” Hinson told Fox News in an interview on Monday. “It puts a spotlight on the thinking and the planning that was going on behind this.” 

The resolution 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.”

The Pentagon announced Saturday that it was “pausing” the plan to offer vaccinations to the 40 detainees at the detention site in Cuba — after anger from Republicans and 9/11 survivors.

“No Guantanamo detainees have been vaccinated,” Defense Department press secretary John Kirby tweeted. “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.”

Two defense officials had previously confirmed to Fox News the plan to offer the vaccinations. A lack of vaccinations had reportedly made it difficult for federal prosecutors to move forward with war crimes hearings at the base.

The order 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, a Pentagon spokesman told the New York Post.

Detainees at the base include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. It’s unclear how many Guantanamo inmates, if any, have been infected with COVID-19 to date. Vaccinations for medical workers and some troops stationed at the base began on Jan. 8. 

“When I heard that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for example, one of the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks, was slated to get the vaccine before Iowans, that was to me a moment in time when I was like, ‘we have to speak up about this and take action’ and that’s where the resolution came from,” Hinson said.

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The resolution notes that as of Jan 27, approximately 22 million Americans – about seven percent of the population, have been vaccinated. Hinson told Fox News that many of her constituents are concerned about their access to the vaccine, and that a recent 16 percent increase in vaccine for Iowa is “barely scratching the surface.”

“I’m hearing continually from Iowans who are worried about their access to vaccine,” she said. “I think it’s just frankly appalling to learn that the Biden administration put Gitmo ahead of my constituents and so I would call on them to send every available dose that was supposed to be at Gitmo, to send it to an Iowan.”

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