A number of Republican governors have come out in opposition to President Biden’s sweeping new vaccine mandates for private enterprises, arguing that the new requirements represent unconstitutional violations of personal and medical freedom.
Biden introduced the measures as part of his COVID-19 Action Plan in an address on Thursday. The most controversial measure is the administration’s decision to force all businesses with over 100 employees mandate vaccinations or subject staff to a weekly test. The directive also applied to health-care workers in facilities that treat patients on Medicare or Medicaid. Many GOP leaders condemned the unilateral proclamation as an invasive, potentially illegal federal intervention and promised to fight it in court.
South Carolina governor Henry McMaster voiced his disdain for the mandate on Twitter, writing that “the American Dream has turned into a nightmare under President Biden and the radical Democrats. They have declared war against capitalism, thumbed their noses at the Constitution, and empowered our enemies abroad. Rest assured, we will fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian.”
Texas governor Greg Abbott was also critical, calling Biden’s decision “an assault on private businesses.” Abbott contrasted Biden’s philosophy with his own, boasting about signing “an Executive Order protecting Texans’ right to choose whether they get the COVID vaccine.”
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon asked his state’s attorney general “to stand prepared to take all actions to oppose this administration’s unconstitutional overreach of executive power,” according to the Washington Post.
After refusing to outright ban private vaccine mandates like her governor counterparts in Florida and Texas, South Dakota governor Kristi Noem tweeted that she is mobilizing her state to “defend freedom,” telling Biden “see you in court.”
Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt was also defiant, pledging to “fight back against the Biden administration’s federal overreach.”
“As long as I am governor, there will be no government vaccine mandates in Oklahoma,” he added.
Arizona governor Doug Ducey asserted that the mandate “will never hold up in court,” lambasting the Biden administration’s edict to the Department of Labor as ruling class elitism that “will only make workforce shortages worse.”
Echoing the others, Montana governor Greg Gianforte called the mandate “unlawful” and “un-American.”
The governors of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah all joined the critical chorus of Republicans.
Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said her organization “will sue the administration to protect Americans and their liberties.”
In his address, Biden struck a resentful tone when discussing Republican governors and the constituents they represent.
“A distinct minority of Americans — supported by a distinct minority of elected officials — are keeping us from turning the corner,” he said. “These pandemic politics … are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die. … If these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way.”