Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves argued against the White House’s vaccine mandate, calling the “unilateral action” an attack on the people of his state and threatening to sign onto a Republican-led lawsuit against it, despite the state having the country’s highest death rate per capita.
In a contentious interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” Reeves on Sunday criticized President Joe Biden’s push for more vaccinations by requiring employers with over 100 employees to require their workers to be vaccinated.
“Obviously, we made it very clear that we are prepared to sue once we actually see the rule,” Reeves said in reference to the expected rule from Occupational Safety and Health Act about the requirement for vaccinations in the workplace.
CNN’s Jake Tapper pushed back on Reeves to point out that the governor himself has received the vaccine and the state has historically required vaccines, for example, in schools.
“The Mississippi legislature has enacted laws for many years regarding vaccines of many types. It is unique to kids and their ability to go to our public schools. It’s not vaccines mandated in the workplace,” Reeves said. “This is an attack by the president on hard-working Americans and hard-working Mississippians who he wants to choose between getting a jab in their arm and their ability to feed their families.”
Reeves said the president was attempting to distract the country from other issues: “He knows he doesn’t have the authority to do this in my opinion, but he wants to change the political narrative away from Afghanistan and away from the other issues that are driving his poll numbers into the ground.”
Mississippi has a total of 9,214 deaths from Covid-19, as of Sunday, according to the state’s department of health. When asked what he planned to do to change course and slow the rate of infection and death from the coronavirus, Reeves suggested that people get vaccinated.
“In our state, some 89 percent of those hospitalized and some 87 percent of those who are of the deaths, are actually coming from those who were unvaccinated. So the No. 1 thing that you can do is you can get — you can talk to your doctor about getting vaccinated,” he said. “If you get the virus please talk to your doctor about the monoclonal … antibodies.”