In one of the most bizarre examples of unwavering Trump sycophancy, Fox News correspondent-at-large Geraldo Rivera on Friday suggested naming the COVID-19 vaccine after the president to cheer him up.
And Rivera’s peers from competing networks brutally roasted him for suggesting Trump—notorious for putting his name on everything from buildings to steaks—might need to be coaxed from office with lavish credit for a cure to a virus he repeatedly downplayed.
“You know, Gerald raises a good point there. It’s possible we just don’t give the president enough credit for his FDR-like devotion to tackling this virus,” MSNBC host Brian Williams sarcastically said on Friday next to images of Trump golfing and not wearing a face mask. “His laser-like focus, his daily devotion, the sympathy he’s forever expressing to the families of the quarter million dead.”
“Even the way the president lectures us in that way to please wear a mask and stop the spread. And he’s always advocated injections. Geraldo may be on to something,” he added.
CNN host Don Lemon took a more direct punch at Rivera, laughing at the supposed “Trump whisperer” for suggesting “something that might make this snowflake of a president feel better.”
“It’s pretty pathetic, even [Fox & Friends co-host] Steve Doocy had to laugh out loud at it,” Lemon said.
Rivera argued during Fox & Friends that naming the COVID-19 vaccine “The Trump” would be “a nice gesture to him and years from now it would become kind of a generic name.”
“‘Have you got your Trump yet?’ ‘I got my Trump, I’m fine.’ I wish we could honor him in that way,” Rivera said, noting that the name could help mend divisiveness across the country and smooth the path for Trump to concede the 2020 election.
The suggestion came just days after Trump wrongly claimed full credit for Pfizer’s announcement that its COVID-19 vaccine was effective. In fact, the drug marker didn’t accept government money for the project.
Since then, another drug company has released results indicating a second, more accessible vaccine could be fast-tracked by the FDA by the end of the year. Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday also called the efficacy of Pfizer’s vaccine “extraordinary,” adding it is almost as effective as the measles shot.
On Friday, Trump made the outlandish suggestion that those drug companies deliberately withheld successful results until after the election as a revenge-fueled plot to kick him out of office due to his crusade against prescription drug prices.
Rivera said that he wished the American people could honor Trump by crediting him for the speedy vaccine “because he is definitely the prime architect of this Operation Warp Speed.”
To date, the coronavirus has killed at least 250,000 Americans and infected nearly 12 million—a grim milestone that is only expected to skyrocket as the holiday season and winter loom.
On Friday night, Williams seemed to allude to the tragic reality of the virus surging across the nation, calling out the president for refusing to follow virus mitigation recommendations pushed by his own public health officials, like mask-wearing and social distancing.
“We are all painfully aware life in America will not feel anything close to normal until the coronavirus vaccine has been perfected and really distributed,” he said during his late night show, The 11th Hour.
During his monologue about Trump's “laser focus” on the pandemic, Williams jokingly highlighted the success rate of other products named after the president.
“What Trump Steaks did for the hungry, what Trump Water did for the thirsty in our nation, what Trump University did to lift up the uneducated in our country, well along comes Trump: The Vaccine,” Williams quipped. “Possibilities, I think you’ll agree, are endless.”