Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) isn’t having a great week.
According to the Washington Examiner, in the wake of the CDC’s controversial updated guidance on wearing masks, Walensky suggested that President Joe Biden’s administration was considering a national vaccine mandate, only to backtrack her inflammatory suggestion hours later.
During a Friday interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier, Walensky made a stunning revelation, suggesting after being asked about a national vaccine mandate that the Biden administration was considering such a move.
“Are you for mandating a vaccine on a federal level?” Baier asked, according to Fox News.
“That’s something that I think the administration is looking into. It’s something that I think we are looking to see approval of from the vaccine,” Walensky responded, sparking enormous waves of backlash on social media.
Walensky added: “Overall, I think in general, I am all for more vaccination. But, I have nothing further to say on that except that we are looking into those policies,” while going on to admit that she understands the “pushback” from the American people over such a ludicrous idea.
Once the news broke, the reports began circulating across social media, which likely led to Walensky receiving a less-than-friendly phone call from the White House ordering her to clarify such a provocative statement.
Walensky scrambles to “clarify”
Upon CNBC’s Berkely Lovelace tweeting, in all capital letters, that Walensky had just made the announcement that the Biden administration was considering a national vaccine mandate, the CDC director responded in her attempt to clarify what she really meant.
“To clarify: There will be no nationwide mandate. I was referring to mandates by private institutions and portions of the federal government. There will be no federal mandate,” Walensky tweeted.
It should be noted that Walensky’s suggestion, whether true or not, is not without precedent. It was only on Thursday that Biden himself suggested that a national vaccine mandate was still a possibility, indicating that such an order is “still in question,” citing legal concerns.
The eyebrow-raising comment from Walensky also comes in the wake of the president asking every federal employee to get a COVID-19 vaccination, calling it a matter of “life and death,” while insisting that partisan politics isn’t playing a role in any of the rhetoric.
“This is not about red states and blue states. It’s literally about life and death,” Biden said. “With freedom, comes responsibility. So please, exercise responsible judgment. Get vaccinated.”