Following the death of former secretary of state Colin Powell on Monday from COVID-19 complications, former Biden coronavirus adviser Andy Slavitt said it was a reminder for others to get vaccinated if they hadn't already. Tom Elliott, the founder of the media production service Grabien, tweeted back, "Get vaccinated, then you too can die of Covid."
The 84-year-old Powell was fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but acccording to a spokesman, he was immunocompromised by multiple myeloma, a cancer of the white blood cells.
Twitter informed Elliott he woud be locked out from tweeting for a week for violating its rules on "abuse and harassment," telling him in a message that includes "wishing or hoping that someone experiences physical harm."
Elliott told Fox News Digital he was simply making fun of what he called an "illogical argument," adding it wasn't even made clear to him whether he was accused of abusive language toward Powell or Slavitt.
"I got suspended yesterday for the crime of mocking an irrational argument," he told Fox, adding, "It was admittedly a flippant tweet but that's pretty much the whole point of Twitter."
Elliott has appealed the decision. Twitter didn't respond to a request for comment.
In addition to running Grabien, Elliott produces video montages, or supercuts, jabbing liberal media and political figures, and frequently shares viral news clips on his Twitter account.
A recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that since the contagious Delta variant became the most common version of the virus, vaccinated individuals were five times less likely to be infected, and more than ten times less likely to die or be hospitalized. Powell was more vulnerable in spite of his vaccination status due to his cancer treatment.
Powell's death also underscored how much more vulnerable the elderly are to the virus, compared to younger people. According to CDC data, more than half of coronavirus-related deaths in the United States have been among those 75 and older, and more than 75 percent are among those 65 and older.
The New York Times reported last week that an unvaccinated child is less likely to develop severe illness from coronavirus than a vaccinated 70-year-old.