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Florida Rep. Byron Donalds Trades Barbs Chris Cuomo on Vaccine Choice


Florida congressman Byron Donalds joined CNN Tuesday evening to debate host Chris Cuomo on his decision not to take the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Do you feel responsible for spreading a message where [you say] ‘I’m not gonna take [the vaccine] because I don’t care what Biden wants. Byron Donald’s not gonna take it ’cause he doesn’t care what Biden wants?'” Cuomo asked Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL-19). “Do you think that’s a good message for people to hear?”

“Well, the first thing is, my message was never about Joe Biden,” Donalds replied. “My message was about me and my own personal health.”

Star News Education Foundation Journalism Project“I’m not getting vaccinated because I don’t want to – ” Cuomo said, interrupting.

When Donalds asked Cuomo not to interrupt him and noted that he did not interrupt Cuomo, Cuomo replied by saying “you don’t get to interrupt me because it’s my show.”

Then Cuomo continued, reading a quote from Donalds.

“It has nothing to do with what Joe Biden wants,” Cuomo said, quoting Donalds. “It has nothing to do with what Joe Biden wants. Funny, I never brought him up when I was deciding whether or not to get vaccinated. Why did you?”

“A reporter asked me on a news show, and I said it has nothing to do with what [Biden] wants,” Donalds said, clarifying that Cuomo took his quote out of context.

“I chose not to get vaccinated because I chose not to get vaccinated,” Donalds continued. “I already had COVID-19 once. I’m 42 years old. I’m in very good health. I actually get check-ups regularly and do all those things. That’s a personal decision for myself, members of my family – my wife, my three kids – they’ve all had COVID. They’re not getting vaccinated. They’re all healthy. That is the decision they’ve chosen to make.”

Donalds then schooled Cuomo on personal responsibility.

“The key thing for everybody to understand is this,” Donalds said. “If people in the United States are concerned about contracting, and being hospitalized, and dying, of course, from COVID-19, please go get vaccinated. I will never tell you not to get vaccinated. What I’m saying is I made a decision not to get vaccinated. It doesn’t matter if it’s you, or Joe Biden, or anybody else, that’s going to stress or want me to get it. I’m not doing it because I made that decision as a free person.


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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to