Republican governors and everyday Americans pledged to fight President Biden’s decision to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations or regular testing at large companies, saying it amounted to a brazen “assault” on private businesses.
Social media users vowed to buck the new rules, using the hashtag #IWillNotComply to air their frustration.
The Libertarian Party of Colorado said workers can send a message.
“If all federal workers walked off the job. The machine would stop working,” the party tweeted. “@POTUS is a fascist!”
Republican governors sounded a similar note of defiance.
“This requires pushback and response, and that’s what the state of Arizona is going to do,” Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican who’s promoted the vaccine but resisted mandates, told reporters in Phoenix.
He said there will be “more to follow on what that’s going to be.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said his state was already plotting a response to Mr. Biden’s decision Thursday to issue rules through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The Republican Governors Association highlighted tweets from 19 governors in all who rejected Mr. Biden‘s push — including South Dakota’s Kristi Noem, who told Mr. Biden: “See you in court.”
“Republican governors stand firm against Joe Biden‘s overreaching federal agenda and are ready to fight his unconstitutional federal mandate on vaccines,” the association said.
The rule will force businesses with 100 or more workers to require the vaccine or weekly testing, a violation of which could spark big fines.
“Biden’s vaccine mandate is an assault on private businesses. I issued an Executive Order protecting Texans’ right to choose whether they get the COVID vaccine & added it to the special session agenda,” Mr. Abbott, a Republican, tweeted. “Texas is already working to halt this power grab.”
Oklahoma Attorney General John O’Connor said he is preparing a lawsuit over the rules.
“We respect the right of Oklahoma businesses and individuals to make health care decisions for themselves and their families,” he said. “My office will vigorously oppose any attempt by the federal government to mandate vaccines. We are preparing litigation to stand up for our rights and defend the rule of law against the overreach of the federal government.”
Josh Mandel, a former Ohio treasurer who’s flirted with U.S. Senate bids, said he hopes the Supreme Court will “do the right thing” and strike down the rules. He also told Americans to “not comply with the tyranny.”
“When the Gestapo show up at your front door, you know what to do,” he said in a Twitter video shot at nighttime in a cornfield.
Mr. Biden’s vaccine mandates will apply to 100 million workers across the federal government, private businesses and health care sector as the delta variant of the coronavirus sparks outbreaks and threatens another doleful winter.
The president, who took office in January vowing to beat COVID-19, seemed emboldened by the fact that unvaccinated persons are now a minority in the U.S.
More than 53% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and 73% of those eligible — persons 12 and older — have received at least one dose, but Mr. Biden said patience is “wearing thin” with people who remain on the sidelines.
Courts have generally looked favorably on vaccine mandates by employers, and OSHA has wide latitude to ensure safe workplaces, though the new approach from Mr. Biden is expected to be tested in various courts.