How Outrage Over Vaccine Mandates Grew to become a Mainstream G.O.P. Stance

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Public health law experts agree that Mr. Biden has a solid legal foundation as his actions are based on federal occupational safety laws. They say Republican governors who insist that vaccination mandates are an encroachment on personal freedom need a refresher on their own state policies.

“This is pure hypocrisy,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, a public health expert at Georgetown University, of Mr. Reeves’ remarks. “Even religious exceptions are being swept away in the state of Mississippi. So how can he say that a presidential order to protect workers with the approval of Congress is excessive or in some way unconstitutional?”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Reeves, Bailey Martin, denied Mr. Gostin’s claim. “The only people who are hypocritical are President Biden and his administration, who have been saying for months that they would not prescribe the vaccine,” she said in an email, adding that Mr. Reeves “has everything available to him.” Tool “would use to block the mandates.

Republicans’ suspicions of vaccines built before the pandemic; When Donald J. Trump ran for president in 2016, he turned down mainstream science by making the debunked claims that vaccines cause autism. Now some of the governors argue that given the oversized divisions in the country and widespread distrust of Washington, federal intervention would be counterproductive. It is best to keep state officials working to ensure that vaccines are safe and effective, and to allow people to make their own choices.

“I’m trying to overcome the resistance, but the president’s actions under a mandate harden the resistance,” Arkansas Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday. School mandates, he said, “always came at the state level, never at the national level. So this is an unprecedented assumption of federal mandate that really upsets and divides the country. “

Dr. Jha said Mr. Biden actually did the Republicans a favor.

“The president is providing political cover for the Republican leaders who will shout out loud because it makes political sense,” he said. “But I think a lot of them are actually relieved because they no longer have to do the hard work of convincing their voters.”

As the highly contagious Delta variant began to permeate their communities and overwhelm their hospitals, many elected Republicans – particularly Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader – began asking people to get vaccinated. Most Republican governors criticizing Mr Biden have said the same thing.

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