During his speech announcing expansive new vaccine mandates on Thursday, President Biden took aim at Republican governors who have continued to value freedom in their responses to Covid-19, threatening to use his “powers” to “get them out.”
After blasting the nearly 80 million Americans who have not gotten vaccinated, the president turned his ire to GOP governors, particularly Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
“To make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19," he said. "Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they’re ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in their communities.
"Right now, local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs. Talk about bullying in schools," Biden added.
"If they’ll not help, if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as president to get them out of the way," he threatened.
Free people should never be comfortable with the term "I'll use my power as President to get them out of the way"... https://t.co/E1aAYQu8u9— Burgess Owens (@BurgessOwens) September 9, 2021
While Gov. DeSantis did not respond immediately to Biden's comments about him Thursday night, he had already addressed the topic earlier.
“How could we get to the point in this country where you would not let them earn a living because of their choice on the vaccine?” DeSantis said. “I just think that’s fundamentally wrong. I do not believe that people should lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that.”
Abbott, who has issued an executive order banning schools from imposing mask mandates, said Texas is "already working to halt this power grab."
Biden’s vaccine mandate is an assault on private businesses.— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 9, 2021
I issued an Executive Order protecting Texans’ right to choose whether they get the COVID vaccine & added it to the special session agenda.
Texas is already working to halt this power grab.https://t.co/TwoQMhDxoM
At least 15 other Republican governors have released statements challenging Biden's mandate, promising to fight back.