Trouble in the Squad? Ilhan Omar Criticizes AOC for Supporting Congress Getting COVID Vaccine Before Frontline Workers

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Ilhan Omar by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Is there trouble in progressive paradise?

All signs point to yes.

Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar is causing a stir after she said members of Congress shouldn’t be getting the vaccine before frontline workers. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) disagrees.

Omar Calls Out ‘Shameful’ Elitism in Congress

COVID-19 is personal for Omar, whose father died of coronavirus-related illness. She is furious that members of Congress are slated to to get the vaccine before frontline health workers and at-risk individuals.

Omar has turned down getting the vaccine ahead of time which many members of Congress and the US government have done. She has also repeatedly slammed the failure to pass a good enough COVID relief bill, especially blaming Mitch McConnell for standing in the way of getting families the help they need and obstructing meaningful aid.

AOC Gets the Vaccine Live on Instagram

As Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has noted, AOC seems to be more active on social media than actually getting anything done in Congress.

True to her social media roots, the 31-year-old progressive star got her COVID vaccine on the weekend and streamed it live on Instagram. AOC said she did it to build trust among people who are skeptical about the vaccine and said she is “here to answer all of your questions to help you feel as comfortable as possible with your healthcare decisions.”

Is there maybe just a chance that AOC also did it for a bit of attention, too?

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez @ SXSW 2019 by nrkbeta is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

‘Heartless, Arrogant, Unelected CDC Bureaucrats’

Omar isn’t alone in feeling at odds with Congress. Not only are its approval ratings in the gutter, fellow Democrat Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii stated her disgust at the CDC for giving the vaccine to young people before the elderly, tweeting that “heartless, arrogant, unelected CDC bureaucrats have decided that the lives of elderly Americans don’t count.”

Like Omar, Gabbard said she will wait to get the vaccine so that the health of seniors is taken seriously by the progressive politicians and public health officials who have pretended to care about them for the past year.

“I had planned to get the vaccine but will now stand in solidarity with our seniors by not doing so until THEY can. I urge my colleagues who are under 65 and healthy to join me,” Gabbard wrote.

What’s Behind Omar’s Decision?

Despite revelations that COVID relief money was funneled to her husband’s DC lobbying firm and a history of anti-American statements, Omar is something of a straight shooter when it comes to speaking her mind. She doesn’t tend to sugarcoat what she says. Her controversial statements are part of why she’s gained in popularity on the left and become strongly disliked on the right.

It is unlikely that she’s speaking out against Congress to “score points” since, if anything, this break with the Squad is not good for her alliances with other democratic socialists. The fact that AOC and Ayanna Pressley got the vaccine makes Omar’s stance even more at odds with the Squad.

In addition, refusal to take the vaccine for now as part of a political protest could be bad for Omar’s political future, since the Somali American community already has low vaccination rates and “hesitancy” to take the COVID vaccine according to the CDC.

It seems likely that Omar is just speaking her mind and letting the chips fall where they may, as well as bolstering her image of left-wing populism and fighting for the little guy that has helped boost her profile on the left.

Numerous prominent politicians have gotten the COVID shot in recent days including VP Mike Pence, President-elect Joe Biden and Dr. Tony Fauci.