Greg Abbott Tells Pentagon Texas Will Not Be Enforcing COVID Vaccine Mandate on National Guard

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Posted: Dec 17, 2021 2:10 PM
Greg Abbott Tells Pentagon Texas Will Not Be Enforcing COVID Vaccine Mandate on National Guard

Source: AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Texas Governor Greg Abbott released the letter he sent to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to say he will not be forcing the state's National Guard to comply with the Department of Defense's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Abbott sent the letter to Austin after Austin said states who do not comply with the vaccine mandate will run the risk of not receiving federal dollars.

Abbott issued Executive Order GA-39 prohibiting the imposition of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate by any governmental entity in Texas. In early October, the Governor ordered Texas Adjutant General Tracy Norris not to punish any Guardsmen in Texas for choosing not to receive the vaccine.

"As Governor of Texas, I am the commander-in-chief of this State’s militia," Abbott's letter reads. "In that capacity, on October 4, 2021, I ordered the Adjutant General of Texas to comply with my Executive Order GA-39. If unvaccinated guardsmen suffer any adverse consequences within the State of Texas, they will have only President Biden and his Administration to blame. The State of Texas will not enforce this latest COVID-19 vaccine mandate against its guardsmen. If the federal government keeps threatening to defund the Texas National Guard, I will deploy every legal tool available to me as Governor in defense of these American heroes."

"This willingness to hollow out the National Guard is unconscionable in the face of growing global threats and a border crisis created by the Biden Administration. It is also in tension with recent legal decisions. President Biden and his Administration have suffered a string of losses in the federal courts with their other illegal vaccine mandates," he continued.

Military Times reported the governors for Wyoming, Iowa, Alaska, Nebraska, and Mississippi all signed on to a letter asking Austin to lift the ban on unvaccinated Guardsmen attending drill weekends or other mandatory training while in a federal, state-controlled status.