Huckabee Sanders vows not to impose mask, vaccine mandates if elected governor of Arkansas

Former White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah SandersTrump expected to resume rallies in June Andrew Giuliani planning run for New York governor Trump appears at Sarah Huckabee Sanders campaign event MORE Sanders on Friday said that she would not impose any mask mandate or vaccine requirements if she is elected governor of Arkansas in 2022. 

The Republican gubernatorial candidate made the promise during an interview on “Fox & Friends” in response to a Washington Post report saying that top White House aides and officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) discussed potentially updating mask guidance amid new surges of the highly transmissible delta COVID-19 variant. 

Top administration officials have since said there are no plans to update the CDC’s masking guidance, though President BidenJoe BidenManchin lays down demands for child tax credit: report Abrams targets Black churchgoers during campaign stops for McAuliffe in Virginia Pentagon, State Department square off on Afghanistan accountability MORE said this week that the CDC would likely soon issue guidance encouraging children to wear facial coverings upon returning to school this fall. 

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However, Sanders pushed back on the potential for increased restrictions Friday, saying, “If I'm elected governor here in Arkansas, we will not have mask mandates.” 

“We will not have mandates on the vaccine, we will not shut down churches and schools and other large gatherings, because we believe in personal freedom and responsibility," she added. “It's one of the key cornerstones, frankly, of our country.”

Sanders went on to say, “I think if President Biden and Vice President Harris and others on the left are serious about helping save lives through the vaccine, they should admit they were wrong when they cast doubt on Operation Warp Speed at the very beginning and give President TrumpDonald TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' MORE and his administration the credit they are due for helping get this vaccine created safely, quickly and effectively, and into the hands of Americans.” 

“I think that would make a huge difference, and I think they should really take some responsibility and step up and fix the mistake that they made by casting so much doubt at the very beginning of this process,” she added.  

Democrats and critics of Trump last year called into question the integrity of the vaccines after he pushed for the shots to be authorized expeditiously. 

Trump’s former press secretary said Friday that a vaccine “was created safely and effectively under the Trump administration, and he should give credit to that administration.”

“I think that would make a huge difference in the rhetoric, take away some of the politicization that we have seen over the course of the last year on this particular issue,” she added.

The remarks come a day after Arkansas Democrats sent a letter to current Arkansas Gov. Asa HutchinsonAsa HutchinsonSunday shows - Buttigieg warns supply chain issues could stretch to next year Arkansas governor backs employer vaccine mandates GOP governor: Re-litigating 2020 'recipe for disaster' in midterms MORE (R) urging him to end the state’s ban on mask mandates, arguing that the state's health care workers are facing the impacts of the rise in COVID-19 cases.

“We get the numbers every day. We know what’s happening, so there is no need to pile on about our present statewide condition,” they wrote.