Joy Reid Responds to Nicki Minaj, Says It Was Fine Being Anti-Vax Under Trump

News & Politics

In perhaps the largest Twitter dumpster fire of all time, MSNBC’s The ReidOut host Joy Reid and rapper Nicki Minaj have been trading barbs over the coronavirus vaccine and who’s a betrayal to their race. On Tuesday’s show, Reid responded to Minaj with an angry, bitter screed that denounced white conservatives as the real anti-vaxxers holding America back and defended her anti-vaccine tweets from 2020 as legitimate and sensible given who was president and how, after the election, she saw the light.

Reid milked the story by holding it off until the last two segments of the show, joking at the top of the show that “it’s all quiet out there in Twitterworld” and “nothing” has “happen[ed]” in her world before saying she’ll “have more to say” about the “wee bit of Twitter excitement.”

Two teases later, Reid finally got to the point. After recapping what Minaj said on Twitter with her baseless claim about the Covid vaccine, Reid said “she used her social media platform and her 22 million Twitter followers to cast doubt on the vaccine to a heavily black audience” and that, along with her comments, “went viral.”

Reid correctly noted that “every moment is a teachable moment and this might be one that illustrates on Twitter in public how hard it is for us to talk to each other.” 

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Instead of showing further sobriety, Reid went back to her vengeful self by lamenting that there’s “a lot of frustration and anger” among the vaccinated that others haven’t gotten the shot, so the former has had to resort to removing the latter “from our lives.”

Instead of talking about Minaj’s unfounded claims, she made it all about three of her least-favorite people (including Tucker Carlson) and the entire right writ large, claiming tens of millions of right-leaning Americans are holding the country back and would have been pro-segregation.

Reid then added that, citing polls, Black Americans have been reliably getting vaccinated (click “expand”):

What disturbs me are those who care nothing about black communities and who are actually hostile to our interests. I’m talking white nationalist curious Twitter bugs and chatter bugs like Tuckums and Marjory Green and Candace Owens, who leapt out to try to scoop up Nicki and put her on their team, using her vaccine misinformation to try to back up their own phony campaigns, pushing their base to reject the vaccines while they’re probably fully vaccinated themselves. These are the same Republicans and Republican talkers who have been working overtime to try to put vaccine refusal on black people’s shoulders, to try to morph mandates into some airborne virus version of 1950s segregation as if they would have opposed segregation if they had been around back then. It’s not only disingenuous, it’s also anti-facts. The data is clear that it is Republicans and more specifically Republicans who listen to Fox News and people like Tuckums and Marjorie and Candace who are the majority of those refusing to be vaccinated. Black Americans are Democrats and we poll like Democrats when it comes to our willingness to get the vaccine, so we are not the problem.

Completely trusting polls aside, Reid conceded “[t]here is still a lot of vaccine hesitancy among Black folks” for a range of reasons and, given “our history in this country,” “there are good, solid reasons for black people to have these doubts.”

Once again, this sober discussion evaporated back to her bitterly hateful personality by putting on-screen her anti-vaccine tweet that Minaj had tweeted out in one of her responses, saying she was reasonably “hesitant” and spread distrust because there was a “sociopath President in office, who was manipulating the CDC and FDA, pushing for a quicky vaccine, by election day.”

Reid concluded her rant with more explanation of why it was fine to spread conspiracy theories about the vaccines in 2020 because Trump was in office, but not now since someone from her party is in the White House (click “expand”):

Trump nearly broke the once trusted CDC and the FDA, to the point you couldn’t be sure that you were hearing from scientists and not just the political hacks when either agency spoke. And so, yeah, people like me were real hesitant. But luckily, there have been doctors and scientists who could reassure those of us who were willing to be reassured that the vaccines, once they came out, months later, were indeed safe and had been produced without any Trumpist input, whether or not they came through the unfortunately named Operation Warp Speed. 

We didn’t have to do our own research, because we could literally talk with the black woman, Mr. Kizzmekia Corbett, who developed the Moderna vaccine, or with doctors on this very show who personally treat Covid patients and could assure us that the vaccines were safe. That’s why I got vaccinated months ago and my immediate family got vaccinated. And yes, I talked to my doctor. Something that, by the way, lots of black folks who live in red, southern states that have refused to expand Medicaid cannot do because they don’t have a doctor or regular contact with the medical establishment in their states until they get sick. Vaccine hesitancy in the black community is a real and pressing issue. It’s not something to fight about on Twitter. It’s something to talk about. 

Earth to Joy: As per the liberal New York Times in August, only 28 percent of young Black New Yorkers are vaccinated. Maybe try and do something about that first.

After a break, Reid again flashed her venom for white people and conservatives: “There’s a tried and true tactic deployed by the right when it comes to, well, any problem facing the United States and that’s blaming the black people.”

A Brian Kilmeade clip and a CNN poll later as proof, Reid brought in Advancing Health Equity CEO Dr. Uché Blackstock for a discussion about how to address vaccine hesitancy and specifically among Black people both in the U.S. and globally (with both having family members in the Caribbean).

While a number of strategies Blackstock proposed were positive and fact-based, Reid predictably tried to make it partisan by making clear partway through that she didn’t want to concern herself with changing the minds of Republicans. And, of course, she argued white southerners have kept Black people from being healthy because some states haven’t expanded Medicaid.

So, to be clear, Reid wants to be able to demonize white conservatives as what ails America and how some have refused the vaccine, but she doesn’t want to concern herself with improving the country’s vaccination rate. Got it.

Reid’s anti-vaccine rhetoric and racial hatred toward conservatives and white Americans was made possible thanks to the endorsement of advertisers such as Ancestry, BMW, Lincoln, and Qunol. Follow the links to see their contact information at the MRC’s Conservatives Fight Back page.

To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from September 14, click here.

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