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Psaki Bomb Scores Direct Hit On ‘World Renowned Expert’ Ted Cruz

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki dismissed Sen. Ted Cruz's (R-Texas) false claims attributing the Southwest Airline delays to President Joe Biden's vaccine mandate.

During the press briefing on Tuesday, October 12, Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich alluded to the Texas lawmaker's remarks asking, "What's the White House response to those who say vaccine mandates have reduced the workforce and contributed to this problem?"

On Sunday, Cruz took to Twitter with a link to a CNBC News article about the Southwest Airlines flight cancellations. He also criticized the president and attributed his proposed vaccine mandate to the flight delays.

"Joe Biden's illegal vaccine mandate at work! Suddenly, we're short on pilots & air traffic controllers. #ThanksJoe," Cruz tweeted on Sunday.

Psaki offered a response beginning with a reference to the Texas senator's remarks saying, "Well I know world-renowned business, travel and health expert Sen. Ted Cruz has made that point. But I wouldn't say that is widely acknowledged or echoed by business leaders who have implemented these mandates.

"It doesn't mean this isn't hard and challenging — of course it is. We're in the middle of a global pandemic," she continued. "But ultimately, the job of the president of the United States is to lead, is to follow the advice of health experts, is to ensure that he is protecting the lives of people across the country."

She also addressed the circumstances surrounding the Southwest Airlines controversy. "We now know that some of those claims were absolutely false, and actually the issues were completely unrelated to vaccine mandates," Psaki said.

Shortly after the press briefing footage began circulating, Cruz also attempted to push back via Twitter. The senator claimed to have spoken with a reputable source for the airline who claimed "there was a 'sick out' of air traffic controllers in Jacksonville over vaccine mandates."

However, what Cruz fails to acknowledge is that Biden's proposed vaccine mandate has not yet gone into effect.

Anti-Vaxxer Allen West Taking Unproven Drugs To Treat Covid-19 Symptoms

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Allen West, former congressman and current chairman of the Texas Republican Party, on Saturday announced his plan to suspend all in-person events for his gubernatorial campaign after experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

According to The Daily Beast, West developed symptoms after his wife, Angela, tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID."After taking COVID and flu shots, Angela West tested positive for COVID yesterday, Friday," the tweet said.

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Idaho Sends Bill For Pointless Election Audit To MyPillow CEO

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When MyPillow CEO contested Idaho's 2020 election results amid false claims of voter fraud, officials conducted an audit for three of the counties that were scrutinized. Now, the state office is sending Lindell the bill.

According to the Idaho-Statesman, Idaho Chief Deputy Secretary of State Chad Houck on Thursday, October 7 confirmed his office's intent to bill Lindell for the audit, which cost approximately $6,500.

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Why Would Ted Cruz Try To Cripple A Major Anti-Bribery Statute?

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is pushing to weaken a campaign finance law in place to deter candidates from committing bribery.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the Texas lawmaker's attempt to make changes to America's campaign finance law could negatively influence the direction of the country and election finance practices, going forward.Cruz is reportedly seeking to dismantle a campaign finance provision that imposes a $250,000 maximum on personal loan repayment to political campaigns using funds collected after an election has concluded.

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Trump Boots ‘Kraken’ Lawyer Powell As She Faces Ruin

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sidney Powell, the "Kraken" lawyer who fiercely backed the former President Donald Trump's frivolous effort to overturn the presidential election, has also been banished from TrumpWorld, a new report reveals.

Speaking to The Daily Beast, multiple individuals close to Trump have explained how the disgraced lawyer has been ousted.

"Sidney is very much on the no-go list," one inside sources told The Daily Beast. "Her problems right now do not need to be the [former] president's problems."

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Giuliani Admits 'Evidence' Of 2020 Vote Fraud Came From Facebook Posts

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Rudy Giuliani, former President Donald Trump's embattled former personal attorney, has admitted under oath that his so-called evidence of voter fraud was based on Facebook posts, reports confirm.

According to Business Insider, Giuliani's remarks were part of a deposition that he completed on August 14 as part of a defamation lawsuit filed by Eric Coomer, a former Dominion Voting Systems employee.

Coomer filed his lawsuit against the Trump campaign and other allies of the former president for circulating unfounded voter fraud conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election. One theory even accused him of conspiring to "rig" the election in President Joe Biden's favor.

The deposition included a statement where Giuliani "admitted that he got some of his information about Coomer's alleged role in the election fraud from his social media posts but couldn't be sure if it was Facebook or another platform."

"Those social media posts get all one to me," Giuliani said.

When asked if he'd personally seen any other information connecting Coomer to fraud, Giuliani said, "Right now, I can't recall anything else that I laid eyes on."

The New York Times reported that the conspiracy theory about Coomer originated from baseless claims made by a right-wing podcast host named Joe Oltmann. He claimed to have listened in on an Antifa conference call where Coomer's name was mentioned. During that discussion, "Eric from Dominion" reportedly boasted about interfering with the election. Oltmann then claimed Coomer's Facebook page included anti-Trump messages; a claim that tied into his alleged efforts to rig the election.

Although Oltmann provided no evidence to support his claim, Trump's legal team ran with it. On November 19, they held a press conference and offered details about the basis of their legal pushback which was motivated by Otlmann's baseless claims.

"One of the Smartmatic patent holders, Eric Coomer, I believe his name is, is on the web as being recorded in a conversation with ANTIFA members saying that he had the election rigged for Mr. Biden," Giuliani said.

However, Coomer's lawyers argue that Giuliani "spent 'virtually no time' investigating the claims."

When asked why he regurgitated the claims without conducting proper research, Giuliani simply said he was too busy.

"It's not my job in a fast-moving case to go out and investigate every piece of evidence that's given to me," Giuliani said in the deposition, according to MSNBC.

Giuliani also made a futile attempt to defend his actions saying, "Why wouldn't I believe him? I would have to have been a terrible lawyer… gee, let's go find out it's untrue. I didn't have the time to do that."

Insider Memoir Reveals How Jared And Ivanka Botched Trump’s Pandemic Response

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

It's no secret that the Trump administration was widely responsible for botching the United States' pandemic response but a new report specifically explains how former President Donald Trump's family members actually "hijacked" the White House's handling of COVID-19.

On Friday, October 1, Politico released an adapted excerpt from the book, I'll Take Your Questions Now: My Time in the Trump White House, written by former White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham. The adaptation highlights just how White House senior advisors Ivanka Trump, also the former president's daughter, and her husband, Jared Kushner, contributed to the failed pandemic response.Grisham recalled when Trump and former first lady Melania

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GOP Donor Accuses Lewandowski Of 'Sexually Graphic' Harassment At Vegas Fundraiser

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

A longtime aide to former President Donald Trump is facing accusations of misconduct after allegedly inflicting brazen, repeatedly rejected sexual overtures, including physical contact, on a female Republican donor.

According to Politico, Trashelle Odom — wife of Idaho executive John Odom — is accusing Corey Lewandowski of "making unwanted sexual advances" toward her at a charity event that was held in Las Vegas, Nev., this past weekend. Odom "alleges that Lewandowski repeatedly touched her, including on her leg and buttocks, and spoke to her in sexually graphic terms" while they were at the event.A donor and longtime aide for former President Donald Trump is facing accusations after allegedly making sexual advances toward a female victim.

Speaking to Politico, Odom recounted what occurred on September 26 when she crossed paths with Lewandowski.

"On the evening of September 26 in Las Vegas, Nevada, I attended a dinner to support a charity and spend time with wonderful friends," Odom said in a statement to the publication. "He repeatedly touched me inappropriately, said vile and disgusting things to me, stalked me, and made me feel violated and fearful," she said in reference to Lewandowski.

Odom went on to explain why she is speaking out about the encounter. "I am coming forward because he needs to be held accountable," she continued. "I am blessed to have a loving husband and family behind me. I want other women to know that you can be heard, too, and together we can stop terrible things like this from happening."

Odom's attorney has also released a statement detailing his client's account. According to the attorney, Lewandowski aggressively pursued Odom as he made advances "approximately 10 times."

"Mrs. Odom stated that over the course of the dinner, Mr. Lewandowski tried to hold her hand, and she pushed his hand away. He touched her leg, and she moved it away. He grabbed her napkin off her lap and tried to touch her leg again, and she pulled her dress over her leg, to move his hand away and cover her skin," Odom's attorney wrote in the statement.

"He touched her back and she tried to get away," the statement continued. "He described an area where he was sore from a workout, on the side of his butt, but he demonstrated this by touching her there—on the upper side of her rear end. Lewandowski tried to touch her approximately 10 times, and Mrs. Odom always rebuffed him."

In wake of the latest allegations, David Chesnoff, the Las Vegas-based attorney representing Lewandowski, also released a brief statement in response to the situation. However, he did not directly address Odom's allegations. "Accusations and rumors appear to be morphing by the minute and we will not dignify them with a further response," he said.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On Wednesday evening, the Trump apparatus announced that the former president has severed ties with Lewandowski, according to this tweet posted by New York Times correspondent Maggie Haberman:

Trumpists Demand Arizona Governor 'Decertify' Biden Victory Despite Audit Result

The Republican-led Arizona election audit found that President Joe Biden actually won by a slightly wider margin than initially reported, but Trump supporters are still demanding that the election results be overturned.

In fact, according to Tucson.com, the demands have increased since the audit results were made public. Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey reportedly received approximately 300 emails a day on Saturday and Sunday demanding that he decertify the state's results for the 2020 presidential election.

Speaking to the publication, Ducey's Ducey press aide C.J. Karamargin noted that the election complaints are far more prevalent than the COVID and immigration-related emails the governor typically receives.

"It is more than we receive on vaccines, masks, border issues, refugees,'' Karamargin said. "This tops the level of constituent interest those issues have.''

Karamargin also echoed the governor's remarks in response to the requests to decertify the election. "There is no law that allows for decertification,'' Karamargin said. "It's simply not possible.''

Although the Republican governor has released multiple statements explaining that there is no way to decertify the results, the calls for him to do so have not waned. State Rep. Mark Finchem, a current candidate for Arizona secretary of state, is still pushing Trump's big lie. Speaking to Steve Bannon, Finchem said, "We've got false numbers."

In response to Ducey's push back against calls to decertify the election results, Finchem said, "I don't think that Ducey knows what this document means," as he held a copy of the U.S. Constitution. Despite Finchem's claims, there is nothing in the Constitution that would allow the governor to decertify the election results.

Anti-Vaxxers Now Accusing Hospital Physicians Of 'Murder'

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Anti-vaxxers have taken conspiracy theories to a new level with their latest attempt to convince unvaccinated COVID patients to leave hospital intensive care units.

According to NBC News, conspiracy theorists are circulating serious allegations about doctors treating COVID patients. The publication reports that they claim doctors are "preventing unvaccinated patients from receiving miracle cures or are even killing them on purpose."

Ivermectin enthusiasts and anti-vaxxers have also been spreading misinformation in Facebook groups telling COVID positive individuals to "stay away from hospitals and instead try increasingly dangerous at-home treatments."

NBC notes that the disturbing claims underscore "the escalation in mistrust" of the scientific community and medical professionals. The misinformation epidemic has grown worse over the last several months with the rise of the rapidly spreading Delta variant of COVID-19. Doctors and nurses in hospital systems across the country have also expressed concern about the rise in misinformation amid the resurgence of COVID.

Wes Ely, an ICU doctor and professor Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, revealed how their intensive care has changed over the last month with the rise in severe cases among the unvaccinated.

"We were down to four Covid patients two months ago. In this surge, we've had 40 to 50 patients with Covid on four different ICU services, 97 percent of them unvaccinated," said Ely. "We were making headway, and now we're just losing really, really badly. There's something that's happening on the internet, and it's dramatically increasing steam."

Harvard Medical School physician Aditi Nerurkar also expressed deep concern about what she describes as "vigilante medicine": a decision "wherein patients are deferring potentially lifesaving care from doctors to try unproven cures pushed on Facebook."

"It's vigilante medicine: medicine being practiced by laypeople who are reading groups created by other laypeople in echo chambers and silos that, likely, someone in the anti-vax movement is profiting from," she said.

Although social media has become the central hub for misinformation, Facebook insists it is fighting back against the spread of false information.

"We remove content that attempts to buy, sell, or donate for Ivermectin," a Facebook spokesperson confirmed in an emailed statement. "We also enforce against any account or group that violates our COVID-19 and vaccine policies, including claims that Ivermectin is a guaranteed cure or guaranteed prevention, and we don't allow ads promoting Ivermectin as a treatment for COVID-19."

Right-Wing Cable Host Asks Trump If He Accepts Arizona ‘Audit’ Result

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet

Real America's Voice host David Brody asked former President Donald Trump the one question many Americans would probably like to know the answer to: Will Trump accept the results now that the Arizona election audit is complete? For months, the embattled former president and his allies have questioned the election results in battleground states President Joe Biden won.

Although Republican lawmakers led the Arizona audit, the results actually determined Trump lost by a larger margin than initially reported. So, when Brody interviewed Trump on Friday, September 24, he immediately addressed the elephant in the room by asking the big question. In fact, according to Mediaite, Brody even went a step further and used some of Trump's own words against him.

"Mr. President, I want to give you a chance also to respond to the news out today about this audit. Maricopa County, Arizona, the draft of the report done by, in your words, highly respected auditors is out, apparently confirming Biden's win in the state. Are you prepared to accept those results? What's your sense of it?" Brody asked.

Although numbers don't lie, Trump appears to be deadset on continuing to push the big lie. The former president offered a delusional argument in a futile attempt to minimize the embarrassing "audit" result.

"Well, no, because they they just took a small part and they didn't look at the real numbers. Now the numbers are going to be announced. The real numbers are going to be announced at four o'clock today.

As I understand it, Arizona is having a conference and they found many votes that were terrible, terrible votes. In other words, they found that they were false votes, phantom votes, whatever you want to call them.

So I have to see, because I'm not involved in it, I'm just watching like everybody else. And we'll have to see what it is. The from what I heard, the report is a very strong report. But, you know, they wanted to get out ahead of it like they always like to do, whether it's on Russia or Russia or Ukraine, Ukraine, they want to get out ahead of it. So we're going to have to wait.

It said it's going to be, I guess, Eastern Time. It's going to be released at four o'clock. I've actually heard the results of the report is very damning, but they don't want to say that. They want to get way out ahead where long before the report. I've heard the report is very damning."

Boebert Misused Campaign Funds For Personal Expenses (Again)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) paid rent, utility and other personal expenses with campaign funds, according to a new Federal Election Commission (FEC) filing.

On Tuesday, September 21, Boebert submitted information to the FEC as she confirmed that $6,650 worth of payments had been reimbursed to the campaign, according to the Denver Post.

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Trump Kids, Mnuchin Cost Taxpayers $1.7M For Secret Service Protection In 2021

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Former President Donald Trump's executive order requiring the U.S. Secret Service to continue guarding his children and key members within his administration comes with a hefty price tag: $1.7 million, according to the Washington Post.

Post-presidential Secret Service protection is typically reserved for former presidents, first ladies, and their children up to the age of 16. However, Trump has gone a step further expanding that privilege to his adult children, their spouses, and some former members of his administration including former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and former national security adviser Robert O'Brien. Their Secret Service detail was set to last for the entire first six months out of office.

The publication reports that Secret Service accumulated the seven-figure bill tailing the former president's ultra-wealthy adult children. Agents accompanied them to "ski vacations, weekend houses, a resort in Cabo San Lucas, and business trips abroad," the Post noted.

"Who wouldn't enjoy continuing their free limo service and easy access to restaurant tables?" asked Jim Helminski, a former Secret Service executive. "Even if there was a credible risk to family and associates of Trump, these people are now private citizens who can afford to hire ... private security firms for their personal protection," he told the Post.

Out of all the expenses, it is being reported that Mnuchin racked up the most. Citing government spending records, the Post reported the highest expenses came from Mnuchin's trips to Israel and Los Angeles. A total of $52,000 was spent to trail Mnuchin to Israel while another six figure bill was accumulated when he traveled to Los Angeles.

The publication reports: "Mnuchin's total Secret Service tab hit $479,000, and included $114,000 for rooms at a W Hotel in Los Angeles."

Although Mnuchin claims he never asked for protection, he also had the option to turn the Service down; something he did not do.

‘Keep Lining Up Body Bags’: GOP Governor Warns On Vaccine Refusal

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) has a message for the residents in his state that refuse to get vaccinated.

On Friday, September 17, Justice held a press conference to appeal to residents as vaccination rates in the state remain stagnant. With just 45 percent of residents vaccinated, West Virginia is still a state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States, Justice is hoping people will begin to take COVID vaccination seriously.

He also made it clear what could happen if people continue to refuse vaccination.

"We're going to run to the fire and get vaccinated right now, or we're going to pile the body bags up until we reach a point in time to where we have enough people that have natural immunities and enough people that are vaccinated," he said.

Justice made it clear yet again that if eligible individuals do not get vaccinated, "they'll keep dying" and "we're just going to keep lining the body bags up and we're going to line them up and line them up."

At the time, Justice made his disappointment clear as he expressed frustration and concern about those who are still unvaccinated. The Republican governor also emphasized that there is no longer time to make a decision.

"It's too late, West Virginia. It's too late for you to decide, you know, 'Oh, we should have gotten vaccinated.' You can't stop this now, what's happened in West Virginia. But you can still save your own life, or lives that are around you, by getting vaccinated."

Justice's latest press conference follows his remarks a few weeks ago in response to the conspiracy theories about the vaccine. At the time, Justice weighed in on the bizarre "microchip" theory.

"Why in the world do we have to come up with these crazy ideas—and they're crazy ideas—that the vaccine's got something in it and its tracing people wherever they go?"

To improve the state's vaccination statistics, the state of West Virginia has even resorted to offering incentives and prizes to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

Newly Revealed Charges Of Misconduct Against Pompeo In State Dept. Documents

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Newly unredacted records from a whistleblower complaint in the State Department have shed light on more allegations against former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and members of his former staff.

According to documents obtained by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), Pompeo and others were accused of misconduct.

The organization reports: "The alleged misconduct included false or misleading statements to the agency's legal department, misuse of government resources on personal and political activities potentially prohibited by the Hatch Act, verbal abuse of employees by Mike and Susan Pompeo and directives to staff not to communicate in writing in order to evade transparency laws."

The unredacted documents come two years after the redacted version of the whistleblower complaint was filed with the State Department Office of Inspector General (OIG). The OIG is said to have excluded many of the previous redactions in the version of the documents released to CREW.

"The complaint alleges "[s]everal senior career Foreign Service officials who held positions of responsibility within the Executive Secretariat" turned a blind eye to Pompeo's "questionable activities" and, in some cases, "facilitat[ed]" them, according to CREW.

Employees in the State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser "expressed concern that some of these activities may have violated [the] Hatch Act or other regulations," but the whistleblower was "unaware that any resolution was reached, potentially because senior officials in the Executive Secretariat repeatedly declined to seek clarification or guidance from [the Office of the Legal Adviser] despite requests from subordinates to do so."

The new documents also detail the aftermath of former Inspector general Steve Linick's removal from his post, which was part of a larger Trump-led effort to oust inspectors. The report also indicated that staff members were "stunned" by the directive.

"[T]his is all so surreal three days later. I'm nervous about the future," the OIG employee wrote in a May 18, 2020 email. In a later email, the official added, "I just heard Trump say we needed to get rid of the 'Attorney Generals' as a whole…Oh dear."

CREW has also received other documentation as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit aimed at uncovering information about Pompeo's attempts to hinder the investigation into the allegations of misconduct against him.

Christian Nationalists Predict Victory For Far-Right Recall Candidate

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Christian nationalists in California are making an aggressive push to have embattled Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) recalled. The candidate they are advocating for heavily aligns with their own political agenda.

According to a new report published by Right Wing Watch, far-right Christian leaders and Republicans are advocating for conservative radio host Larry Elder.

Holding a sharp position on key conservative issues like abortion, voting rights, and COVID mitigation, Elder has received an influx of support from conservatives religious leaders.

One of his strongest supporters is Ché Ahn, a Pasadena, Calif.-based religious leader working to get as many evangelicals as possible to vote on the recall.

In fact, Ahn has a long history of advocating for Republican candidates and controversial policies the party has long worked to enact.

On January 5, just one day before the attack on the U.S. Capitol, Ahn appeared at the "Stop the Steal" rally that was organized to stir up the pro-Trump base. At the time, Ahn reportedly circulated misinformation about the presidential election by telling Trump-supporting rallygoers "that the election was stolen but that Trump would remain in office."

"We're gonna rule and reign through President Trump and under the lordship of Jesus Christ," he declared.

Over the last several weeks, a number of similar events have been held to boost Elder's campaign but the publication highlights one event in particular as it sheds light on how Christian nationalists are using religion to justify their political goals.

Per the publication:

A Sept. 2 California Pastors Town Hall sponsored by the Salt & Light Council focused in part on the recall election. Bishop Art Hodges urged pastors to bring their ballots to church and to portray voting as a sacred duty. 'It is our duty as Christians in America,' he said, to ensure God's continued blessing on the U.S. by 'choosing leaders who will honor biblical values and morality.' Hodges presented talking points favoring the recall, which began with Newsom performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples and running through a litany of complaints, including 'Cash payments to illegals.'

California's special election will be held on Tuesday Sept. 14.

‘Have At It’: Biden Defiant As Anti-Vax Governors Threaten To Fight Mandates

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

President Joe Biden has a stern message for Republican governors ready to challenge his "vaccine-or-weekly-testing mandate" as a means of mitigating COVID-19.

On Friday, September 10, the president spoke at a Washington, D.C., middle school where he shared details about his next initiatives to mitigate the spread of the virus in schools. At one point during his speech, Biden addressed Republican governors who have railed against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health recommendations to combat COVID-19.

Toward the end of his speech, one reporter echoed concerns of the president's opponents who oppose his latest attempts to mitigate the virus. According to Mother Jones, the reporter noted that some have deemed Biden's initiative as an "overreach" as they vow "to challenge it in court."

In response to the reporter's remarks, Biden said:

Have at it. Look, I am so disappointed that particularly some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities. We're playing for real here. This isn't a game. And I don't know of any scientist out there in this field who doesn't think it makes considerable sense to do the six things I have suggested. But you know—let me conclude with this:

One of the lessons I hope our students can unlearn is that politics doesn't have to be this way. Politics doesn't have to be this way. They're growing up in an environment where they see it's like a war, like a bitter feud. If a Democrat says right, everybody says left….I mean, it's not how we are. It's not who we are as a nation. And it's not how we beat every other crisis in our history. We got to come together. I think the vast majority—look at the polling data—the vast majority of the American people know we have to do these things. They're hard but necessary. We're going to get them done.

Of the Republican governors vowing to fight back in court, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) has released a statement on her opposition to the Biden administration's efforts. Speaking to Fox News, Noem insisted that her legal team is already working to push back against what she describes as an "unlawful mandate."

"This is not a power that is delegated to the federal government," Noem said. "My legal team is already working. And we will defend and protect our people from this unlawful mandate."

The United States is facing an accelerated spread of COVID-19 as the Delta variant continues to ravage many states across the country, particularly in areas with lower vaccination rates.