Of all the Muppets you’d expect to see at the center of a political firestorm on Twitter, Big Bird would be most people’s last choice.
But the eight-foot-tall flightless yellow canary has raised the ire of everyone from Ted Cruz to Arizona state Senator Wendy Rogers after sending out a Tweet Saturday morning that he’d gotten his COVID-19 vaccine.
Within hours, Ted Cruz was labeling the Tweet as “Government propaganda … for your 5 year old”. The next morning, others, including Arizona state Senator Wendy Rogers, piled on.
I got the COVID-19 vaccine today! My wing is feeling a little sore, but it’ll give my body an extra protective boost that keeps me and others healthy.
Ms. @EricaRHill even said Iâ€™ve been getting vaccines since I was a little bird. I had no idea!
— Big Bird (@BigBird) November 6, 2021
Sanjay Gupta pushing drugs (vaccine) to kids on Sesame Street is now the cringiest most shameful thing Iâ€™ve ever seen! Why are they lying to us??!!— Lavern Spicer (@lavern_spicer) November 7, 2021
While some of the ire against Big Bird is likely due to the politicization of vaccines, especially as a fight looms over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, some of the protests are likely because Big Bird cited CNN’s Erica Hill in his Tweet. (The Sesame Street icon was part of a collaboration between Sesame Street and CNN, who had a town hall centered around vaccines featuring with the show’s characters Saturday morning.)
Cruz later poked fun at the backlash he faced for his Tweets, saying “Libs are really triggered by Big Bird.”
The furor comes days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of COVID-19 shots for children between the ages of 5 and 11. Through the pandemic, there have been more than 8,300 hospitalizations of kids ages 5 to 11, about a third requiring intensive care, according to government data. The CDC has recorded at least 94 deaths in that age group.