Rep. Adam Kinzinger lambasted GOP leaders Sunday for fundraising off of their opposition to President Biden’s vaccine mandate.
Mr. Kinzinger, a prominent never-Trump Republican from Illinois, issued the criticism Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” arguing that such lawmakers are only raising fears over the COVID-19 vaccine and the federal government.
“The failure here comes in leaders that have basically used vaccine status as some tattoo of what political tribe you belong to,” he said. “We all hear stories of people that are in, you know, very red areas that are embarrassed to say they’re vaccinated. That is insane and silly, and that is a problem with leaders, particularly Republican leaders.”
Mr. Kinzinger added that while numerous GOP governors are making the case for vaccinations, such calls are being trounced by “those that are out to simply manipulate our base, raise money off of them and not care about their life.”
“There are some Republican members of Congress putting out fundraising … email[s] about [how] first it’s going to be a vaccine mandate, next thing the Gestapo is going to show up at your door and take your Bible away,” he said. “That’s not going to happen, and that’s playing on people’s fear.”
Last week, Mr. Biden announced new regulations requiring private companies with more than 100 employees to mandate vaccinations. The White House said the move, which is part of a six-step plan to combat the coronavirus, will force more than 100 million Americans across federal agencies, large businesses and the healthcare sector to get vaccinated.
Republicans have called the move an “overreach” and questioned if it will stand up to legal challenges. Some also have alleged that penalties, running upwards of $13,600 per violation, the administration plans to impose on employers will force companies to fire individuals refusing the vaccine.
“This is an unprecedented assumption of federal mandate authority that really disrupts and divides the country,” said Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas. It divides our partnership between the federal government and the states, and it increases the division in terms of vaccination when we should all be together trying to increase the vaccination uptake.”