While speaking to reporters at the White House on Thursday, President Joe Biden condemned Republican governors for threatening to push back against his recently proposed rule that would require employees at companies who have more than 100 workers on their payroll to either be vaccinated or get tested weekly for COVID-19.
Biden alluded to several governors specifically in his comments, calling out Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida), Gov. Greg Abbott (R-Texas) and Gov. Tate Reeves (R-Mississippi) for their opposition to his proposals.
“The governors of Florida and Texas are doing everything they can to undermine the life-saving requirements that I’ve proposed,” Biden said.
The president also noted that some governors, including Reeves, were acting hypocritically, as their states had vaccine requirements already in place for other types of ailments.
“In Mississippi, children are required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, hepatitis B, polio, tetanus and more,” Biden noted. “These are state requirements. But in the midst of a pandemic that has already taken over 660,000 lives, I propose a requirement for Covid vaccines and the governor of that state calls it ‘a tyrannical-type move?’ A tyrannical-type move?”
Biden called opposition from these and other governors “the worst kind of politics” because it puts “the lives of citizens of their states, especially children, at risk.”
“I refuse to give in to it,” he added.
Biden’s comments were made amid reports that children now represent more than a quarter of the nation’s weekly coronavirus cases.
Several Republican states’ attorneys general are also critical of the new rule being proposed by Biden and have threatened to take legal action against the White House if the rule is implemented. Twenty-four attorneys general sent a seven-page letter to Biden on Thursday, calling his plan “disastrous and counterproductive” and claiming it would “increase skepticism of vaccines.”
The states that those attorneys general represent, however, include some of the ineffectual places in the nation when it comes to containing the spread of the virus. Seven of the 10 states with the highest per capita rates of new cases being identified per day had attorneys general who signed onto the letter threatening to sue Biden. And of the 10 states with the highest hospitalization rates over the past two weeks, nine of those states’ attorneys general signed onto the letter as well.
Polling demonstrates that these Republican officials’ efforts are not embraced by the majority of American voters. Indeed, an Axios/Ipsos poll conducted September 10-13 found that 60 percent of Americans back Biden’s proposal to require employers to have their workers vaccinated or tested weekly for coronavirus.