Tag: vaccine mandates

Trump Accuses DeSantis Of 'Trying To Rewrite History' On Pandemic Response

Former President Donald Trump is slamming Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for shifting positions on the Covid-19 vaccines for political purposes as the fast-rising governor reportedly prepares for a White House bid.

After an uncharacteristic silence and even listlessness following his 2024 presidential candidacy announcement last November, the twice impeached ex-president hit the campaign trail over the weekend, vising New Hampshire and South Carolina, where he displayed the pugilistic approach that endeared him to the country’s hard right.

While aboard his refurbished Boeing 757 en route to New Hampshire on Saturday, Trump suggested to reporters that DeSantis's anti-vaccine position was political posturing, given that the governor had ordered strict restrictions across his state at the onset of the pandemic.

“There are Republican governors that did not close their states,” Trump said. “Florida was closed for a long period of time.”

DeSantis — who got a Johnson and Johnson covid vaccine in April 2021 and once implored Floridians to “get vaccinated” because “the vaccines protect you” — and his team are “trying to rewrite [the] history” of their Covid-19 vaccine response, Trump added, according to CNN.

“I had governors that decided not to close a thing, and that was up to them,” Trump, an early proponent of covid-19 vaccination himself, told reporters, seeking to distance himself from the now-hot button topic.

The Florida governor didn’t just advocate for vaccines and put forth executive orders limiting in-person gatherings and closing entertainment establishments. His administration threatened in February 2021 to withhold covid-19 vaccines from jurisdictions that criticized its decision to roll out the coveted shots in heavily Republican areas of Florida first.

However, the governor has since changed his tune and attacked the covid-19 vaccines, their manufacturers, and the Centers for Disease Control so often, he is now a figurehead for the far-right’s anti-vaccine, anti-restriction, and pro-freedom movements.

Far-right commentators of the vaccine fearmongering kind have suggested that Trump would be wise to go the anti-vaccine route to further pander to the ultraconservative base, lest he loses ground to DeSantis.


Christina Bobb, an attorney for Trump’s 2024 campaign, told conspiracy-peddling right-wing host Stew Peters, who questioned the defeated president’s support for “this bio-weapon injection, that Trump was poised to change his covid-19 vaccine stance, too.

“I suspect he will fully support the MAGA base and the way they feel about this, and he will move forward with the will of the American people,” Bobb said.


The row over early covid-19 vaccine positions was one of Trump’s first campaign trail attacks on DeSantis, who some polls have shown leading the potentially crowded of Republican 2024 presidential candidates.

In his rant on “Trump Force One,” the former president again took credit for DeSantis’ 2018 ascension to governorship, saying, “Ron would have not been governor if it wasn’t for me.”

“So when I hear he might run, I consider that very disloyal,” Trump added.


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Donald Trump criticizing Ron DeSantis for?

Donald Trump is criticizing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for shifting positions on the Covid-19 vaccines for political purposes.

What did Donald Trump say about the situation?

Donald Trump suggested to reporters that DeSantis's anti-vaccine position was political posturing, and that DeSantis and his team are “trying to rewrite [the] history” of their Covid-19 vaccine response.

'Like Throwing Your Life Away': Greene's Latest Rant Insults US Troops

'Like Throwing Your Life Away': Greene's Latest Rant Insults US Troops

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) recently delivered an offensive blow targeting the United States armed services. The far-right Republican lawmaker made the remarks during her April 9 appearance on former Fox News host Lou Dobbs' podcast.

According to Newsweek, Dobbs raised questions and concerns about the "quality of people" leading the U.S. Department of Defense under the Biden administration.

In response to his remarks, Greene named a number of reasons why Americans should not enlist in the military under President Joe Biden's policies. She also suggested that the military's challenges in gaining the interest of potential recruits are due to people seeing "the way they're treated."

In the wake of the pandemic, the military has acknowledged its struggle to recruit new members. In fact, the U.S Armed Forces did admit that it did not meet its new recruitment goal for 2021.

However, Dobbs raised another question about recruitment asking why would individuals be interested in enlisting now with "boots on the ground" as approximately 100,000 U.S. service members are now overseas in Europe. Without evidence, Dobbs also believes potential recruits might be deterred from enlisting following Biden's withdrawal of troops that were stationed in Afghanistan.

"Can you imagine explaining to a recruit, you're gonna be just fine, just like those Marines in Kabul," Dobbs said of the 13 armed forces members who died at Afghanistan's capital airport during the withdrawal back in August of last year.

"We may not have time to come back and get you. But you know, it'll work out all right [...] We're going to fight a third world country for two decades and walk out with our tail between our legs," Dobbs added. "Who in his or her right mind would say 'sign me up for that, Sarge?'"

Greene responded, "Not my son, and I know a lot of young people don't want to have anything to do with that. It's like throwing your life away.

"Not to mention how they've been forced to take the vaccine and the ones that didn't want to take it have been discharged. Who wants to be treated that way?"

Greene went on to offer a flawed assessment of the "rules of engagement" insisting people "are 'shot at, killed and maimed' before they're allowed to fire back and defend themselves."

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Disappointing Turnout And Hateful Rhetoric At Anti-Vax March On Washington

Disappointing Turnout And Hateful Rhetoric At Anti-Vax March On Washington

Washington (AFP) - Waving signs denouncing President Joe Biden and calling for "freedom," several thousand people demonstrated in Washington Sunday against what some described as the "tyranny" of Covid-19 vaccine mandates in the United States. It was a much smaller turnout than the 20,000 marchers expected by the event organizers.

Speaker after speaker -- including notorious anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who compared vaccine mandates to the Holocaust -- took to the microphone in front of the white marble Lincoln Memorial to decry the rules.

Like other Covid restrictions aimed at reining in a disease that has infected more than 70 million people in the United States, killed more than 865,000 and brought much of daily life around the globe to a stuttering halt for two years and counting, vaccine mandates have become a deeply polarizing political issue.

"Mandates and freedoms don't mix, like oil and water," another speaker said.

"Breathe. Inhale God, exhale fear," exhorted yet another to applause from the crowd, made up of people of all ages, including children, and largely unmasked.

"I'm not anti-vaccine, but I'm anti this vaccine," Michelle, a 61-year-old physical therapist from Virginia who declined to give her last name, told AFP.

She said the messenger RNA serums developed by companies such as Pfizer and Moderna in record time were "too experimental" and "rushed."

The mRNA vaccines, given to millions of people around the world in the past year, have been proven safe and effective, as well as being hailed as potential gamechangers in modern medicine.

Michelle, who paused in the interview to sing the national anthem with other demonstrators, said she has a religious exemption from taking the vaccine -- but that to continue coming to work in Washington she has to get tested every week.

To her regret, her son, who initially had also resisted taking the vaccine, has now relented.

"He went and got it without me knowing -- so much peer pressure," she said.

'My Body, My Choice'

Another demonstrator, Therese is adamantly opposed to vaccines -- all vaccines.

She explained that she came by bus from Michigan, in the north of the country, to protest.

"Mandates are not appropriate... vaccines aren't working, we've been lied to about the vaccines," said the 61-year-old, who worked in a school cafeteria before her retirement and also refused to give her last name.

"And we should not be masking our children," she added.

"I talked to a couple of psychologists who say our children are suffering and they're depressed... It's terrible. We need our freedom back."

Further up the steps, the speakers -- including some people in white coats, presented as doctors from Texas -- continue to come and go.

"We are Americans and that's what we do, we fight tyranny!" claims another.

A few joggers, as if lost, walk through the crowd amid the signs proclaiming slogans such as "My body, my choice" or "God is our rock that will take down Goliath."

There are also many anti-Biden posters and a few flags bearing the name of his predecessor Donald Trump -- under whom the vaccines were developed and who has taken credit for them.

Isaac Six, 34, shrugged off the difficulty of being unvaccinated while in Washington, where proof of vaccination is now required to go to restaurants and other public places.

"It's OK, we're saving money," the 34-year-old charity worker said with a laugh.

Vaccines in general "are wonderful, they have helped millions of people," he added.

But mandating these vaccines, which like all vaccines are not 100 percent effective at preventing transmission, is "completely irrational," he argued.

What worries him are policies adopted "out of fear and panic" and "by one person."

"I would like to see more of the legislative process involved, the people that we elected to represent us be the ones to actually pass legislation," he said.

neil gorsuch

Right-Wing Justices Prepping To Kill Biden's Vaccine Rules Amid Surging Omicron

Amid expert warnings about the dire implications for public health and democracy, right-wing justices on the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday appeared poised to strike down the Biden administration's contested federal vaccination requirements even as the coronavirus pandemic rages across the country.

Oral arguments in the two sets of cases before the high court came amid a tidal wave of infections driven by the ultra-contagious Omicron variant, which has resulted in tens of thousands of hospitalizations nationwide. Each day, an average of 1,400 individuals in the U.S. are suffering largely preventable deaths from Covid-19.

As cases rise "exponentially across the nation, pushing the hospital system beyond its capacity," justices must "weigh this grim reality," Lawrence O. Gostin, a professor at Georgetown University and director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, and two co-authors wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published last week.

"The Supreme Court needs to uphold" President Joe Biden's Covid-19 vaccine policies "without delay," wrote Gostin and his colleagues. "Not doing so would be an affront to public health and the law."

But the high court's right-wing majority on Friday signaled that they are likely to rule against Biden's vaccination requirements, the New York Timesreported.

"More absolutely unhinged behavior from the Supreme Court's conservative wing, which seems ready to strike down a perfectly lawful vaccine mandate while we're still in the middle of a deadly pandemic," tweeted Indivisible, a progressive advocacy group. "They are irredeemable. We need to expand the court now."

Justice Elena Kagan, one of three liberal justices, defended the Biden administration's vaccine rules, arguing that they are necessary to mitigate the ongoing public health crisis.

"This is a pandemic in which nearly a million people have died," said Kagan. "This is the policy that is most geared to stop all this... Why isn't this necessary and grave?"

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, added: "Why shouldn't the federal government—which has already decided to give OSHA the power to regulate workplace safety—have a national rule that will protect workers?"

According to Ian Millhiser, a senior correspondent at Vox and the author of Injustices: The Supreme Court's History of Comforting the Comfortable and Afflicting the Afflicted, "These cases ask what steps the United States can realistically take to quell the spread of a disease that has already killed more than 820,000 Americans. But the full stakes in these cases are even higher."Millhiser wrote earlier this week:

Someone has to decide how the United States will respond to a global pandemic, and the Biden administration's argument essentially boils down to a case for democracy. An elected Congress authorized the executive branch to take certain steps to encourage vaccination, and Joe Biden was elected to lead that branch. So that means that President Biden and his duly appointed subordinates get to make difficult decisions, even if some Americans don't like those decisions.
The parties challenging Biden's policies, meanwhile, effectively argue that the Supreme Court should decide America's vaccination policy. They couch their arguments in arcane legal doctrines, with weighty-sounding names like the "Major Questions Doctrine" or "nondelegation," But these doctrines are vague—so vague that they are easily manipulated by justices who disagree with the Biden administration's policies and wish to conceal their desire to halt those policies behind a patina of legal reasoning.

In an effort to improve safety in the workplace—a major source of viral transmission—the Biden administration in November imposed three Covid-19 rules affecting roughly 100 million people.

The move to encourage uptake of lifesaving shots—supported by a majority of adults but fiercely opposed by disinformation-soaked GOP voters—was immediately met by a tsunami of legal challenges from business groups and Republican-led states.Within days, right-wing judges, some of whom were appointed by former President Donald Trump, suspended their implementation.

"The cases before the court Friday are technically emergency applications for immediate—but temporary—relief, not final judgements on the merits of the mandates, which are still being litigated in lower courts," ABC Newsreported. "A decision from the justices is expected in days or weeks, rather than months, given the expedited nature of the case and the ongoing public health emergency."

The first rule, issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), states that all employers with 100 or more employees must require workers to be fully inoculated or be tested weekly and wear masks on the job.

In the first case, National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, the Supreme Court will consider the legality of this vaccine-or-test mandate for big companies.

SCOTUS Blogreported Thursday:

Several challenges were filed around the country and eventually consolidated in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which reinstated the mandate after another court had put it on hold. The challengers quickly came to the Supreme Court, asking the justices to freeze the 6th Circuit's ruling. In a brief order on Dec. 22, the justices set two of those requests for oral argument on Jan. 7 but left the 6th Circuit's ruling reviving the mandate in place.

A second Biden administration rule, issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), requires all healthcare workers at facilities that participate in Medicare and Medicaid programs to be fully inoculated unless a medical or religious exemption is obtained.

In the second case being heard by the Supreme Court, Biden v. Missouri, justices will consider the legality of this vaccine mandate for staff at medical facilities reliant on federal funding.

SCOTUS Blog reported:

A federal district court in Missouri put the rule on hold for 10 states, while a federal district court in Louisiana did the same for 14 other states. That prompted the Biden administration to come to the Supreme Court in December, asking the justices to put the district courts' rulings on hold and allow the rule to take effect nationwide while litigation continues.

A third rule, the president's executive order requiring federal contractors to have a fully vaccinated workforce, is currently blocked by courts in Kentucky and Georgia but has not yet reached the high court.

According to Gostin and his colleagues, "Lower-court rulings that blocked the rules from taking effect were fundamentally flawed... They disregarded the broad scientific consensus that Covid-19 poses a major public health threat requiring a strong emergency response; indeed, the public health emergency has only become more acute in recent weeks."

They continued:

A threshold issue is whether Covid-19 is a public health emergency that warrants bypassing the usual cumbersome regulatory process. For the employer mandate, OSHA issued an emergency standard which can be implemented rapidly. For the rule involving healthcare workers, CMS waived the normal period for taking public comment into consideration before issuing final regulations, a process that can take months if not years. Both had good reason for acting swiftly.
OSHA conservatively estimated its new rule would prevent more than 6,500 deaths and 250,000 hospitalizations. CMS established an impressive record showing the unique vulnerability of Medicare and Medicaid recipients, who are older, disabled, chronically ill, or have complex healthcare needs. The rule can save hundreds of lives each month. The science is also clear that the vaccine is the best way to ameliorate risks of Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. Delaying the implementation of the rules would cost lives.

A core argument made by plaintiffs in these cases is that OSHA and CMS didn't receive congressional authorization to protect workers, but Gostin and his two co-authors explained why "that's incorrect":

The Occupational Safety and Health Act empowers OSHA to mitigate "grave" workplace dangers through emergency measures. OSHA has required the only effective tools known to science: vaccines, testing, and masks. Vaccination is the best tool, but OSHA allows employees to opt-out simply by testing weekly and masking. It's hardly an overreach. In fact, regulating biological hazards is among OSHA's primary responsibilities. The agency has a long history of regulating protections against airborne and bloodborne pathogens.
Likewise, when Congress established the Medicare and Medicaid programs, it granted the secretary of health and human services authority to require facilities to meet requirements deemed "necessary in the interest of the health and safety." There are ample reasons to support the conclusion that vaccinations are necessary for the safe operation of participating facilities: the vulnerability of residents, the need for a healthy workforce, and the unique effectiveness of vaccines.

"There are good reasons Congress has chosen to delegate broad regulatory powers to agencies," the trio argued.

Unlike career agency professionals—who have the expertise and the ability to respond "more quickly [and] with more flexibility... than the legislative process allows"—lawmakers, who "cannot foresee the broad range of risks Americans will face," are ill-positioned to act on "rapidly changing and complex scientific information needed to make wise regulatory decisions," they wrote.

"The need to act rapidly is especially important in a health emergency," they added. "If the high court were to curb federal public health powers now, it could prove ruinous when the next crisis strikes."

On top of the potential epidemiological consequences associated with the impending decision, Millhiser argued in Vox that democracy itself is at stake in the Supreme Court's vaccine cases.

"The premise of any democratic republic is that there are some decisions that must be made collectively, and that these decisions are legitimate because they are made by elected officials," wrote Millhiser.

"The justices' commitment to the idea that the right to govern flows from the will of the people" will be tested when the Supreme Court hears Biden v. Missouri and National Federation of Independent Business v. Department of Labor, he continued.

U.S. vaccination policy, noted Millhiser, "will either be made by the man chosen by the American people, or the Supreme Court will wrest that decision away from him and give it to themselves."

"This is not democracy," Millhiser argued. "It is a decision to replace the judgment of men and women elected to make life-and-death decisions with the views of a few unelected lawyers."

Kagan concurred. "Who decides?" she asked Friday. "Should it be the agency full of expert policymakers, politically accountable to the president?... Or courts can decide."

"Courts are not politically accountable," said Kagan. "Courts have no epidemiological expertise. Why in the world would courts decide this question?"

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet