How Outrage Over Vaccine Mandates Became a Mainstream GOP Stance

Public health law experts agree that Mr Biden is on solid legal ground, as his actions are based on federal workplace safety laws. They say Republican governors who insist that the vaccine mandate is an intrusion on individual liberties need a refresher on their state policies.

“This is pure hypocrisy,” said Lawrence O’Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University, of Mr Reeves’ remarks. “Even as religious exemptions have flowed in the state of Mississippi, how can he say that the order a president makes with authority by Congress to keep workers safe is a redundancy or in any way? unconstitutional?”

Mr Reeves’ spokesman Bailey Martin dismissed Mr Gostin’s claim. “The only people to be hypocritical are President Biden and his administration, who have said for months that they will not mandate a vaccine,” she said in an email, using “every tool at your disposal” to block Mr Reeves’ mandate. will do. .

Republican skepticism of vaccines was building up before the pandemic; When in 2016 Donald J. Trump was running for president, he rejected established science Taking up the dismissed claims that vaccines cause autism. Now, some governors argue that federal intervention would be counterproductive, given the country’s sizable division and Washington’s widespread skepticism. It would be best, he says, for state officials to continue to make the case that vaccines are safe and effective, and allow people to make their own decisions.

“I’m trying to overcome resistance, but the president’s actions in a mandate harden the resistance,” Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. School mandates, he said, “have always come at the state level, never at the national level. And so this federal mandate is an unprecedented notion of authority that really disrupts and divides the country.”

Dr Jha said Mr Biden had actually done Republicans a favor.

“What the president does is create political cover for Republican leaders, who will scream as loud as it is politically expedient,” he said. “But I think many of them are really relieved, because they no longer have to work as hard to convince their voters.”

Indeed, when the highly contagious Delta variant began to rip through their communities and overwhelm their hospitals, many elected Republicans—notably Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader—began pleading people to get vaccinated. done. Most Republican governors who have criticized Mr Biden have said the same thing.

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