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Lankford: Someone remind Joe Biden he works for Americans, not the other way around

By Senator James Lankford (R-OK)

Oklahomans don’t like the government telling them what to do. No matter what it is.

I’ve talked to countless Oklahomans who were as shocked as I was when Joe Biden said in a recent speech that he had “lost patience” with the American people and demanded that Americans get a COVID- 19 shot. China and Russia lay down demands on their citizens. In America, we have personal responsibility and freedom. The President can advise and encourage, but not demand.  

President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed oversaw the development and distribution of three COVID-19 vaccines in record time. As of today, more than 179 million Americans, including everyone in my family, have made the choice to receive the full COVID-19 vaccine regimen. It may be the only issue where President Trump and President Biden agree. They both recommend the vaccine. But, President Biden has pushed well beyond a recommendation, now he wants to create a mandate.

We don’t live in a country where our leaders can ignore the facts, the science, and the will of the people and require their way or the highway. It’s not how a government of, by, and for the people works, and it will not work in Oklahoma. Our nation will also see more economic chaos because millions of workers will change jobs rather than take the vaccine. President Biden should not push people to leave their career because of his preference for the vaccine. Give people options and let them choose, that is America.  

More than 39 million Americans already have some level of natural immunity from surviving COVID-19. A recent study out of Israel shows that natural immunity is 27 times more effective than a vaccine. But Biden’s vaccine mandate and the “follow the science” crowd are telling Oklahomans that everyone must get the shot regardless of what the science says. Millions of other Americans are currently undergoing other health treatments, are pregnant, have personal opposition to vaccines, or have religious objections. Everyone needs to be respected.

For now, the “mandate” is only a speech from the President. There is currently no written policy for American civilians that requires people to get the vaccine. We expect something from the Department of Labor in the next few weeks, but until it comes out, federal courts cannot rule on a speech from Biden. Once it is in print, we can challenge the mandate in the courts and in Congress. I have already engaged with countless business owners, military leaders, the CDC, and the Administration to express my opposition. I have also spoken to government leaders and the Pentagon about the mandate for federal workers and the military.

Every American has the right to decide whether or not the COVID-19 vaccine is best for them. Millions have taken the vaccine with no incident, and millions have recovered from COVID. But, a few have had a negative reaction to the COVID vaccine, and hundreds of thousands of Americans have died from COVID complications. In a nation of self-government, you must allow people to self-govern.

Biden doesn’t get to ignore the rights and will of every American to make their own medical decisions because he has “lost patience.” It’s not who we are as Americans, and it’s not how our country operates.