A former Obama administration official has said that police officers should lose their pensions if they do not receive the COVID-19 vaccination because unvaccinated people need “something to be taken away from them” if they won’t “adult up.” The separation of Americans into a two-tiered society of “vaccinated” vs. “unvaccinated” is “essentially how our society is being structured,” she said.
Juliette Kayyem, a former Department of Homeland Security official, explained her controversial views on Tuesday night’s episode of “Don Lemon Tonight.”
The former official also called former President Donald Trump “the leader of a terrorist organization.”
“The reason why … people have become more comfortable with [vaccination] mandates is because the unvaccinated listening to this false news basically just needed a push, a nudge, something to be taken away from them, and then they sort of weighed that faulty information against the desire to keep their jobs — or in the case of state police, their desire to keep their pension,” she said.
A survey by the San Diego Police Officers Association this month found that 65% would consider turning in their badges if the city required them to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, and 45% would risk being fired.
Kayyem had previously tweeted her support for having unvaccinated law enforcement officers lose their retirement income despite their years of service:
If police officers quit they lose their pensions. They also aren’t likely to get hired by private sector which is requiring vaccines. These polls suggesting massive exodus in light of vaccination rules are rubbish. Call their bluff. They serve to protect public.
“Time to adult up,” she concluded.
She is not alone in her antagonistic view of police officers who refuse to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Fellow CNN contributor Catherine Rampell has publicly supported purging the ranks of law enforcement of those who refuse to be vaccinated. “Many cops would lose seniority and retirement benefits if they quit early,” Rampell wrote in The Washington Post last month. “So what? Let them quit.”
Kayyem said that “mandates are working” to increase vaccination rates on CNN. “I’ve gotten much more forceful about mandates once we hit the wall, once the administration hit a wall in terms of vaccination,” said Kayyem.
“I sort of stopped caring about anyone’s feelings. Like, I’m done with feelings,” she said. “Like, you either get the vaccine and get to do all the things the vaccinated get to do, or you don’t and you don’t get to do all the things vaccinated do. And that’s essentially how our society is being structured.”
Echoing New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D), Kayyem made a moral distinction between Americans based on whether they have accepted a vaccination shot against the novel coronavirus. “The majority now is the vaccinated, and we begin with that — and they’re the righteous, right? They’re right in this regard.”
“I don’t disagree with you,” said Don Lemon.
Lemon previously indicated that he believes unvaccinated Americans should not seek treatment at hospitals if they become infected with COVID-19. In August, he told people who are unvaccinated, “Don’t go to the hospital, then, when you get sick! Don’t take up the resources from other people who are playing by the rules, getting vaccinated, social distancing and putting their lives on the line to try to take care of the people who are there. That’s all I’m saying. That’s how I feel. And I don’t apologize.”
During her CNN appearance on Wednesday, Kayyem inexplicably tied vaccination rates to belief in the integrity of the 2020 presidential election, saying that the nation faces grave peril from the followers of former President Donald Trump.
“I’ve always been comfortable calling Trump the leader of a terrorist organization,” said Kayyem. “I think if we don’t use that language, we’re kind of being too nice to him and too nice to the movement.”
Juliette Kayyem served as Assistant Secretary for Intergovernmental Affairs in the Department of Homeland Security during the Obama administration. She is now a lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
Kayyem has not always had such a positive rapport with CNN anchors. When Jake Tapper described the Boston Marathon bombing as the work of “Islamic terrorists,” Kayyem promptly challenged his language. “Those are two separate words at this stage because I think after 9/11 we have this fear of tying a Muslim with terrorism,” she told Tapper. “We shouldn’t do that.”
Lemon said he admires her zeal. “I wake up every morning saying, ‘I’m not ready to make nice,’” Kayyem said as she closed her segment with Lemon on Tuesday night, “and I think, you know, you just sort of call their bluff every time you can.”