'Fight to the gates of hell': States resist Biden's 'cynical and divisive edicts'

President Biden announcing sweeping vaccine mandates in an address at the White House on Sept. 9, 2021 (Video screenshot)

Hours after President Biden vowed in his announcement of unprecedented, sweeping private-sector vaccine mandates to “take on” governors who oppose his policies, at least 19 Republican governors and several state attorneys general issued statements vowing to exercise their authority and deploy all of the legal tools available to resist.

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the chairman of the National Governor’s Association, was measured in his response, stating “federal government mandates on private businesses are not the right answer.”

Then there was South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who declared he will “fight to the gates of hell.”

“The American Dream has turned into a nightmare under President Biden and the radical Democrats. They have declared war against capitalism, thumbed their noses at the Constitution, and empowered our enemies abroad,” the governor said.

“Rest assured, we will fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian.”

The governors of Arizona, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming declared their opposition to Biden’s mandates.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee said Thursday that it plans to sue the Biden administration for its “unconstitutional” mandates.

“Joe Biden told Americans when he was elected that he would not impose vaccine mandates. He lied. Now small businesses, workers, and families across the country will pay the price,” said the RNC’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel.

On Thursday, the president signed an executive order requiring all federal workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. In a televised address, he announced his order to the Department of Labor to create a rule mandating that private companies with more than 100 employees require vaccinations or weekly testing, impacting more than 80 million workers. Another 17 million workers in the health-care industry who benefit from Medicare and Medicaid funds will be forced to be vaccinated.

Harmeet K. Dhillon, a prominent California attorney who formerly was vice chairman of the state’s Republican Party, said she’s had more than 100 requests for help in the past 24 hours and apologized for being unable to respond to every one.

New Jersey attorney Ron Coleman said, he too, has been “overwhelmed with DM’s and emails from folks facing termination over mandatory vaccination.”

“This is obviously not a medical issue,” he wrote on Twitter. “It is America’s Cultural Revolution: those with ‘incorrect’ views are being purged from major institutions.”

The Texas Public Policy Foundation on Thursday urged employers to refuse to comply with the mandate, arguing the federal government “has neither authority nor justification for this outrageous intrusion into the personal lives of working Americans.”

TPPF CEO Kevin Roberts warned that the effort “to have OSHA force medical decisions upon a supermajority of the American workforce is a test run.”

“If allowed to succeed, there is no facet of American life that the federal government’s administrative apparatus will not seek to reach — and control,” he said.

‘See you in court’

Biden clearly had in mind Republican governors who oppose vaccine and mask mandates such as Florida’s Ron DeSantis when he said Thursday his plan “also takes on officials in states that are undermining you and these live-saving actions.”

“If they’ll not help, if these governors won’t help beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power to get them out of the way,” he said.

DeSantis said later at a press conference that “people should not lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that.”

“If they try to do that through a rule like the Department of Labor, I don’t think they have the legal authority to do that, but we obviously would want to support protections for people who are just trying to earn a living,” he said.

On Friday, DeSantis scored a legal win in his effort to ban mask mandates for children in schools and allow parents to decide when the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee granted a stay on his order.

Hutchinson said in a statement: “I fully support continued efforts to increase vaccination rates across our nation, but the federal government mandates on private businesses are not the right answer.”

The governors of Arizona, Georgia and South Dakota warned of legal action.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said her state “will stand up to defend freedom,” telling Biden, “see you in court.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said in a statement that the mandates “are outrageous” and “will never stand up in court.”

“We must and will push back,” he said.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said on Twitter that he will “pursue every legal option available to the state of Georgia to stop this blatantly unlawful overreach by the Biden administration.”

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she is “absolutely against a government mandate on the vaccine,” and Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy said it’s “ridiculous and unenforceable,” adding that “if there was ever a case for the 25th Amendment,” this is it.

‘Cynical and divisive edicts’

In his remarks Thursday, Biden said his mandates are “not about freedom or personal choice,” but about “protecting yourself and those around you, the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee shot back, saying “this is not about freedom” is a phrase “that should never come out of a U.S. president’s mouth.”

“For a fight that requires working together, a lot of cynical and divisive edicts came out of the White House today pitting the vaccinated against the unvaccinated, businesses against employees, and the federal government against states,” Lee said.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds warned that Biden’s “dangerous and unprecedented steps to insert the federal government even further into our lives” will “only worsen our workforce shortage and further limit our economic recovery.”

Mississippi Gov. Mike Reeves said Biden “has no authority to require that Americans inject themselves because of their employment at a private business.”

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt vowed that “as long as I am governor, there will be no government vaccine mandates in Oklahoma.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he issued an executive order “protecting Texans’ right to choose whether they get the COVID vaccine” and added that the issue to the upcoming special session of the state legislature.

“Texas is already working to halt this power grab,” he said.

Biden was asked Friday by a reporter about the Republican resistance to his plan at the end of an event at a middle school in the nation’s capital.

“I am so disappointed,” he said. “Particularly, some Republican governors have been so cavalier, with the health of these kids. So cavalier with the health of our communities.

“This isn’t a game,” he said, flanked by first lady Jill Biden, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

“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. They’re hard but necessary, we’re gonna get them done. Thank you.”

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