On Friday night, MSNBC's Brian Williams skewered Fox News' Geraldo Rivera in a closing segment about the coronavirus vaccine. That morning on Fox & Friends, Rivera proposed that the COVID-19 vaccine should be named after President Donald Trump, arguing that Trump had done a lot to combat the pandemic. Williams condemned this idea, not only with facts but with sarcasm.
Williams began by reminding viewers that the vaccine for Polio was named the Salk Vaccine after Dr. Jonas Salk, the scientist who developed it. He contrasted Salk's tireless work with Rivera's proposal about Trump, taking into account Trump's actions throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Williams' ton dripped with sarcasm as he suggested that a "Trump vaccine" would fall in line with products like Trump Steaks, Trump Water and Trump University — all infamous business failures before Trump's presidency. He also hinted that the name would be an insult to the thousands who lost loved ones during the pandemic.
Williams' week-closing monologue left many viewers surprised, not used to such editorializing from the controversial anchor. Some thought the segment went too far, including some that criticize the president. Others thought the tone was just right for the occasion.
Some of the segment's loudest supporters were Williams' colleagues as MSNBC and NBC. Deadline host Nicolle Wallace tweeted: "What a way to end the week! It's a must-see from Brian Williams." NBC News correspondent Garret Haake added: "If you stay up til midnight, you get the unfiltered BriWi."
Williams was not the only one to tear into Rivera's proposal on Friday, either. The clip went viral on Twitter, with commenters poking fun at Rivera and many guessing that he was "pandering" to the president personally, hoping that he was watching Fox & Friends. Some even speculated that this was Fox's way of trying to earn back Trump's favor considering his anger at the network for its coverage of the 2020 presidential election results.
There are two coronavirus vaccines in the late stages of development, close to being distributed widely. One comes from drug developer Moderna, and the other comes from Pfizer. While both have shown promising results, neither is yet ready for widespread use. Public health officials are urging Americans to abide by social distancing guidelines until the drugs can be released.