Juan Williams: Shame on the anti-mandate Republicans

I say what follows with regret.

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyCheney reveals GOP's Banks claimed he was Jan. 6 panel's ranking member House votes to hold Bannon in contempt of Congress GOP memo urges lawmakers to blame White House 'grinches' for Christmas delays MORE (R-Calif.) and many Republican governors bear some responsibility for every COVID-19 death between now and the end of the pandemic.

Shame on them.

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Last week, McCarthy tweeted in all caps: “NO VACCINE MANDATES.”

There is no argument about vaccines preventing death from COVID.

That is why 60 percent of Americans support President BidenJoe BidenBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Biden says he's open to altering, eliminating filibuster to advance voting rights Biden: Comment that DOJ should prosecute those who defy subpoenas 'not appropriate' MORE’s mandate requiring vaccinations for federal workers and employees of businesses with more than 100 workers, according to an Axios/Ipos poll.

That is why the Business Roundtable, including the corporate leaders of Goldman Sachs, Amazon, and General Electric, favors the mandate as the best way to keep employees safe and get the economy back on track.

But going into the 2022 congressional midterm elections, McCarthy and incendiary figures like Rep. Marjorie Taylor GreeneMarjorie Taylor GreeneGOP efforts to downplay danger of Capitol riot increase The Memo: What now for anti-Trump Republicans? Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says she's meeting with Trump 'soon' in Florida MORE (R-Ga.) appear to think there is political gold in opposing mandates calling for vaccines and testing.

Greene tweeted: “We don’t take orders from Fascist [sic] in my office…Remember the Nuremberg Code Joe?”

And there is similar rage from Republican governors. They also see political advantage in tarring Biden’s call for requiring Americans to get vaccinated or take regular tests.

First, Gov. Henry McMaster of South Carolina. “Rest assured, we will fight them to the gates of hell to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian,” he tweeted.

And here is another GOP governor, Florida’s Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Key CDC panel backs Moderna, J&J boosters GOP senators call on Biden to back down from vaccine mandates DeSantis to call special session of legislature to fight vaccine mandates MORE, threatening his state’s local and school officials if they call for vaccine mandates.

“If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition to employment, that violates Florida law and you will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation,” DeSantis said.

Not to be outdone, South Dakota Gov. Kristi NoemKristi Lynn NoemSouth Dakota GOP lawmakers summon two employees for Noem inquiry Republicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' Biden presses companies to get ahead of vaccine mandate MORE (R) vowed that her state would see the Biden administration “in court” to fight the mandate.

To his credit, Biden is not backing down. When asked about the lawsuits from Republican governors, Biden said only, “Have at it” — channeling his inner Clint Eastwood/Dirty Harry in the style of “Go ahead, make my day.”

“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,” Biden added.

Already more than 600,000 Americans have died from COVID. That is one in every 500 of us.

There is no argument that COVID was able to spread and develop more contagious variants by growing in people who refuse to get vaccinated.

These are facts.

The virus was the top political issue in last week’s recall vote in California.

Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia regulator proposes ban on oil drilling near schools, hospitals, homes Biden says he would tap National Guard to help with supply chain issues Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Southern Company — Nations plan to pump oil despite net zero promises MORE’s (D) COVID policies, including a requirement for state workers to get vaccinated or take tests, had support from 47 percent of California’s voters, according to exit polls. Another 18 percent said Newsom was not being strict enough.

Yet, the vociferous opposition to Biden’s commonsense public health requirements has only gotten louder among right-wing opinion-makers on cable, talk radio, and the internet. All this despite the truth that several hard-right hosts have died from COVID after advising listeners not to get the vaccine.

The conservative echo chamber has succeeded in making opposition to vaccine mandates the official opinion of all who want to join their right-wing club.

Most Republicans oppose the Biden mandates — 66 percent oppose requiring federal employees to be vaccinated and 69 percent of Republicans oppose such a requirement for companies with over 100 employees, according to the Axios poll.

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Republicans are out of step with the rest of the country. Even with strong GOP opposition, nearly two-thirds of all Americans support them.

The GOP used to be the party that championed the interests of the for-profit healthcare and hospital systems. Does anybody remember the ObamaCare debate of the early 2010s?

The far-right also cheered when the courts ruled that private businesses had the right to refuse to sell wedding cakes to gay couples.

Well, what about letting private businesses exercise their right to keep their customers and employees alive by adhering to the mandate?

All such consistent logic is now pushed aside.

Republican politicians now prioritize short-term political interests: ginning up enough of their supporters to turn out in the midterms to flip the five seats they need to win back control of the House.

They are willing to do this at the risk of hurting the economy and costing some constituents their lives.

This anti-vaccine mandate strategy makes no political sense, especially after the results in California.

Here is a non-political reality —

Hospital systems across America, but especially in states with Republican governors, are strained to breaking point. Unvaccinated COVID patients are taking up all the beds, crowding out patients with other ailments like heart attacks and strokes. Some hospitals have begun to ration care because they can’t keep up.

And the rate of infection among children is growing.

It is time to stop reducing the nation’s fight against COVID to a political horse race. It is time to stop being polite with anti-vaccine mandate voices among Republican elected officials.

They deserve to be shamed for their heartless, cruel, deadly stands.

Juan Williams is an author, and a political analyst for Fox News Channel.