Ivey says Biden vaccine mandate ‘nonsense’; Alabama democrats respond
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey says the state will fight back against the new federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates President Joe Biden announced Thursday, but Alabama democrats called her statements “hypocrisy.”
Ivey was part of a phone conference with other Republican governors across the country Friday and released a statement afterward in which she said the president “has overreached with these new mandates, and we’re united in fighting back.”
“This is a fight for businesses, our hardworking men and women, and our American liberties,” Ivey said.
In a statement Friday, Wade F. Perry, the executive director for the Alabama Democratic Party, urged Ivey to “be a leader, stop playing politics, and work with the president.”
“Ivey requested and received emergency federal assistance that is currently on the ground in Alabama saving lives in rural hospitals, as well as portable morgues to stack the bodies of dead Alabamians who died because of her lack of leadership and refusal to expand Medicaid,” Perry said. “Now is not the time for feigned outrage or political rhetoric. Getting mad and throwing a tantrum is not what leaders do.”
Ivey, who has in the past expressed frustration over the state’s low vaccination rate and, at one point, lashed out at the unvaccinated as the ones to “blame” for the latest surge, reiterated Friday that she encourages people to get the vaccine.
“I encourage Alabamians to take the vaccine – have been since the beginning, but we’re never going to mandate it,” Ivey said. “And we certainly aren’t going to allow Washington, D.C., and this president to tell Alabama what to do. Here in Alabama, we don’t put up with that nonsense.”
On Thursday, she acknowledged that she supports the science and has continually encouraged Alabamians to get the COVID-19 vaccine. But, when it comes to mandates, Ivey said that is not the role of the government.
Perry pointed out Alabama’s dependence on federal aid, around $65 billion annually, or about $6,694 per resident, and noted the tens of thousands of federal employees, as well as agencies and contractors who call the state home.
“Alabama couldn’t function without Washington,” he said.
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris avoided the political fray in his weekly status update Friday in which he said the state’s hospitals still had a serious ICU bed crisis.
“The politics of the issue I’m not in a position to talk about that. I would just say we want everyone vaccinated as soon as possible. It’s the best possible way to get out of this,” Harris said.
Biden tweeted Friday that his federal vaccine mandate plan also takes on elected officials who attempt to undermine it.
Biden’s executive order requiring vaccination covers about 100 million people, including all employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government. No testing opt-out is expected to be included for the executive branch requirement.
The president on Friday rebuked Republican governors who vowed to fight his new rules saying “I am so disappointed that, particularly, some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities. We’re playing for real here. This isn’t a game.”
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