Former Vice President Mike Pence is blasting President Biden amid his announcement of sweeping new vaccine mandates — saying Biden’s Thursday remarks are “not how the American people expect to be spoken to.”
Pence, who served as vice president under former President Donald Trump, told “Fox & Friends” that Biden’s speech was “unlike anything” he has ever heard from another US president.
“I have to tell you the president’s speech yesterday was unlike anything I’ve ever heard from an American president,” Pence said. “I mean to have the president of the United States say that he’s been patient but his patience is wearing thin. That’s not how the American people expect to be spoken to by our elected leader.”
The former vice president scolded Biden, saying he should lead by example and “encourage people to take the vaccine, as Karen and I did on national television back in December,” referring to his wife.
Under Biden’s mandate, private businesses with more than 100 workers will be mandated by the Labor Department to require staff to get vaccinated or be tested weekly. The order comes with fines of up to $14,000 per violation.
In the public sector, all federal employees must receive a coronavirus vaccination, with extremely narrow exceptions. Federal employees will not have a weekly testing option if they choose not to get vaccinated.
Republican governors across the country quickly rebuked the order.
On Friday, Pence took those governors’ side, saying the mandate disrespected state leaders.
He referenced the Trump administration’s vaccine production efforts through Operation Warp Speed, saying respecting state leaders was “central to the coronavirus task force.”
“We got governors across the country what they needed when they needed it, and we respected them to make the decisions best for their state,” he said. “And now to have a president not just scolding the American people but scolding governors around the country, it just is not the American way. And I expect the response they are going to get across the country will prove that.”
Republicans have begun to take action against the new mandate with the Republican National Committee promising to sue the Biden administration when the mandates go into effect.
Republican governors like South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have also promised to fight the mandate with potential legal action.
“This is not a power that is delegated to the federal government,” Noem told Fox News’ “Hannity.” “This is a power for states to decide. In South Dakota, we’re going to be free and we’re going to make sure that we don’t overstep our authority. So we will take action. My legal team is already working, and we will defend and protect our people from this unlawful mandate.”
Abbott called the new rule “an assault on private businesses” and vowed that the state was “already working to halt this power grab.”
It is unclear how the governors can fight back against the order, as Biden warned that if Republican governors who have opposed vaccine and mask mandates “won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my powers as president to get them out of the way.”