Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), announced that she would be stepping down from her position at the end of June.
And Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) had thoughts.
“Rochelle Walensky calls pregnant women ‘birthing people’ and claimed that vaccinated people don’t carry the Covid-19 virus,” Greene said. “By these two statements alone, she was never bright enough to be CDC Director and clearly didn’t believe in science.”
“She won’t be missed, but she should still be held accountable.”
Walensky earned her MD at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1995 and went on to become a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and the chief of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital before President Joe Biden tapped her to lead the CDC in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
She earned the ire of the far right for taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and encouraging people to get vaccinated.
Greene has said that she is not vaccinated against COVID-19. Her Twitter and Facebook accounts have been suspended in the past for spreading COVID-19 misinformation, including a graph based on false information that she claimed showed numerous deaths caused by the vaccines.
In her tweet, Greene was referring to an April 2021 statement from Walensky where she said, “Our data from the CDC today suggests that vaccinated people do not carry the virus, don’t get sick.” That was months before even half of the U.S. population had been vaccinated and was based on early studies of the vaccines.
Today, the CDC’s website stresses that the vaccines keep “people from getting seriously ill,” are a “safer, more reliable way to build protection than getting sick with COVID-19,” and “offer added protection to people who had COVID-19.” They don’t say that they completely prevent infection because that statement is not backed by the science available today.
Greene’s other criticism of Walensky is likely that the latter tweeted about how “the increased risk of severe illness for pregnant people makes vaccination against COVID-19 more urgent than ever” in August 2021. Greene – who got the quotation wrong – likely doesn’t just have a problem with Walensky advocating vaccines for pregnant people but also with Walensky’s use of a phrase that includes transgender men and nonbinary people who can get pregnant.
“I have never been prouder of anything I have done in my professional career,” Walensky wrote in her resignation letter. “My tenure at CDC will remain forever the most cherished time I have spent doing hard, necessary, and impactful work.”
On Twitter, some people agreed with Greene and asked if Walensky will be “charged with crimes against humanity,” presumably for advocating for vaccination. Others mocked Greene for acting like she is smarter than the Harvard School of Medicine professor.