Florida Governor Ron DeSantis promised to “fight” any federal government attempt to impose vaccinations or COVID-19 tests on private businesses and individuals.
President Joe Biden announced a broad new plan to combat COVID-19 on Thursday, including mandating vaccinations for all federal employees and contractors and threatening businesses with fines if they do not require their employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests.
In response to early reports of Biden’s executive order, DeSantis held a press conference promoting the use of monoclonal antibodies to treat severe COVID-19 cases.
“How could we get to the point in the country where you would want to have someone lose their job because of their choice about the vaccine or not? I mean, look, some folks have reasons to do — maybe they’re making the wrong decision — but to put them out of work and not let them earn a living because of this, I just think that that’s fundamentally wrong,” DeSantis said.
He added: “I do not believe that people should lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that. If they try to do that through a rule like the Department of Labor, I don’t think they have the legal authority to do that, but we obviously would want to support protections for people who are just trying to earn a living.”
DeSantis went on to criticize Biden’s strategy for persuading Americans to get vaccinated, claiming that education, rather than mandates, produced better results while being less intrusive.
“The people that have had the higher vaccination rates in businesses have been ones that have had programs where they’re educating people, where they’re providing them all the information, showing some of the consequences,” DeSantis said.
“I think forcing this and coercing people, I don’t think this is the right decision. So I’d imagine that you’re going to see a lot of activity in the courts if they try to do that through an executive action, I mean, Congress has never legislated this,” the governor added.
Governors push back on Biden plan
Several other Republican governors reacted angrily to Biden’s speech, threatening to sue if his administration tried to infringe on state sovereignty.
- Tate Reeves, Mississippi: “The President has no authority to require that Americans inject themselves because of their employment at a private business. The vaccine itself is life-saving, but this unconstitutional move is terrifying. This is still America, and we still believe in freedom from tyrants.”
- Brian Kemp, Georgia: “I will pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration.”
- Kristi Noem, South Dakota: “My legal team is standing by ready to file our lawsuit the minute @joebiden files his unconstitutional rule. This gross example of federal intrusion will not stand.”
- Henry McMaster, South Carolina: “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.”
- Doug Ducey, Arizona: “This is exactly the kind of big government overreach we have tried so hard to prevent in Arizona — now the Biden-Harris administration is hammering down on private businesses and individual freedoms in an unprecedented and dangerous way. This will never stand up in court. This dictatorial approach is wrong, un-American and will do far more harm than good. How many workers will be displaced? How many kids kept out of classrooms? How many businesses fined? The vaccine is and should be a choice. We must and will push back.”
- Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas: “I fully support continued efforts to increase vaccination rates across our nation, but the federal government mandates on private businesses are not the right answer. I have been consistent in the freedom of businesses to require their employees to be vaccinated, and I have opposed the government from saying businesses cannot exercise that freedom. The same principle should protect private sector from government overreach that requires them to vaccinate all employees.”
- Kim Reynolds, Iowa: “President Biden is taking dangerous and unprecedented steps to insert the federal government even further into our lives while dismissing the ability of Iowans and Americans to make healthcare decisions for themselves. Biden’s plan will only worsen our workforce shortage and further limit our economic recovery. As I’ve said all along, I believe and trust in Iowans to make the best health decisions for themselves and their families. It’s time for President Biden to do the same. Enough.”
- Greg Gianforte, Montana: “President Biden’s vaccination mandate is unlawful and un-American. We are committed to protecting Montanans’ freedoms and liberties against this gross federal overreach.”
- Kevin Stitt, Oklahoma: “It is not the government’s role to dictate to private businesses what to do. Once again President Biden is demonstrating his complete disregard for individual freedoms and states’ rights. As long as I am governor, there will be no government vaccine mandates in Oklahoma. My administration will continue to defend Oklahoma values and fight back against the Biden administration’s federal overreach.”
- Kay Ivey, Alabama: “Once again, President Biden has missed the mark. His outrageous, overreaching mandates will no doubt be challenged in the courts. Placing more burdens on both employers and employees during a pandemic with the rising inflation rates and lingering labor shortages is totally unacceptable. Alabamians have stepped up by rolling up their sleeves to get the covid-19 vaccine, increasing our doses administered significantly in recent weeks. We have done so without mandates from Washington D.C. or Montgomery. I’ve made it abundantly clear: I support the science and encourage folks taking the vaccine. However, I am absolutely against a government mandate on the vaccine, which is why I signed the vaccine passport ban into law here in Alabama. This is not the role of the government. I continue encouraging any Alabamian who can, to get the covid-19 vaccine. We have a safe and effective tool at our fingertips, so, let’s roll up our sleeves and get this thing beat.”
- Mike Parsons, Missouri: “The Biden Administration’s recent announcement seeking to dictate personal freedom and private business decisions is an insult to our American principles of individual liberty and free enterprise. This heavy-handed action by the federal government is unwelcome in our state and has potentially dangerous consequences for working families. Vaccination protects us from serious illness, but the decision to get vaccinated is a private health care decision that should remain as such. My administration will always fight back against federal power grabs and government overreach that threatens to limit our freedoms.”