President Joe Biden has attracted widespread criticism for his efforts to impose various federal COVID-19 mandates.
For his part, GOP Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently made it clear that he would not allow the White House to force his state’s National Guard members to receive vaccines.
According to Fox News, the governor released a letter on Tuesday signaling his intention to take the Biden administration to court over any such requirement.
“I have issued a straightforward order”
The letter had been addressed to Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, who serves as the Texas military’s adjutant general.
“As the commander-in-chief of Texas’s militia, I have issued a straightforward order to every member of the Texas National Guard within my chain of command: Do not punish any guardsman for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” Abbott wrote.
He went on to lay out his policy regarding vaccine mandates while challenging President Joe Biden’s efforts to federalize the National Guard.
Specifically, the governor pointed to a section of the U.S. Code specifying that only National Guard troops called up by the president fall under federal control.
“As long as I am your commander-in-chief, I will not tolerate efforts to compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine,” Abbott insisted.
“I will fight on your behalf”
He went on to blame the federal government for the “difficult position” his state’s guardsmen were in as a result of the vaccine mandate.
“As your commander-in-chief, I will fight on your behalf,” Abbott said. “That is why I am suing the Biden Administration over its latest unconstitutional vaccine mandate.”
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin referenced the White House’s vaccine policy in a recent statement acknowledging that he had contracted the virus despite having received his vaccination and booster shots, declaring: “The vaccines work and will remain a military medical requirement for our workforce. I encourage everyone eligible for a booster shot to get one. This remains a readiness issue.”
Biden has been a consistent advocate for widespread vaccination, often blaming unvaccinated Americans for allowing the virus and its variants to continue its spread across the nation. Of course, his declaration last month that vaccinated individuals “do not spread the disease” has since been undermined by the sheer number of breakthrough cases involving the easily transmissible omicron variant.