During an interview with cardiologist Peter A. McCullough, Schmitt declared himself to be vaccine-agnostic, neither “anti-vaxxer” or “pro-vaxxer.”
But, he said, “I feel like a vaccination in a weird way is just generally kind of going against nature. Like, I mean, if there is some disease out there — maybe there’s just an ebb and flow to life where something’s supposed to wipe out a certain amount of people, and that’s just kind of the way evolution goes. Vaccines kind of stand in the way of that.”
His guest, McCullough, did not explicitly back him up, and his employer, Newsmax, has made clear that it feels differently as well, particularly about the effort to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus.
“Newsmax as a network strongly supports President Biden’s efforts to widely distribute the covid vaccine. It is important for the safety of all and especially those at high risk, such as the elderly,” a spokesperson told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
The network then put some distance between its corporate position and Schmitt’s remarks, without criticizing him by name.
“Medical professionals who have appeared on Newsmax have strongly encouraged Americans to get the vaccine,” the spokesperson said. “From time to time, a guest or host may not be as supportive of these efforts. However, they do not reflect the position of Newsmax.” (A vaccine-skeptical Vietnam veteran in Idaho told The Post in April that he decided to get the shot after seeing a doctor appear on the network and confirm it was safe.)
Schmitt said during the segment that he doesn’t understand why low-risk individuals would get the coronavirus vaccine. “If you don’t have a risk, I just, I can’t comprehend why you would take something,” he said. “I just don’t understand why it’s being pushed so hard on people that are very young.” (McCullough agreed, generally, that “vaccines really ought to be targeted to protect the highest-risk individuals.”)
Amid the backlash, Schmitt took to Twitter to assert, again, that he does not broadly oppose vaccines, despite arguing that inoculations are “going against nature.”
“It’s not anti-vax to question vaccines,” Schmitt wrote, echoing another conservative television host, Tucker Carlson, who has made fomenting doubt about the safety of the coronavirus vaccines a key hallmark of his nightly show on Fox over the past few months.