Biden Has Blunt Words for Republican Governors on Vaccines: ‘Get Out of the Way’

President Biden signaled a new level of frustration with Republican leaders in states where the highly contagious Delta variant is surging.


By Katie Rogers

WASHINGTON — President Biden signaled a new level of frustration on Tuesday with Republican leaders in states where the highly contagious Delta variant is surging, telling governors in Texas and Florida to help fight the pandemic or “get out of the way.”

While he praised leaders in other states for offering cash and other incentives to entice reluctant Americans to get vaccinated, Mr. Biden singled out Florida and Texas, where cases have risen sharply, for criticism. As cases rise, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida has signed an executive order allowing children to attend school without a mask, and Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas has barred mask and vaccination mandates.

“I say to these governors, please help,” Mr. Biden said. “If you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.”

Mr. Biden and his top advisers have been under pressure in recent days to clarify what is at stake for unvaccinated Americans as the Delta variant becomes the dominant strain of the coronavirus in the United States. Recent public health reversals from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have left some Americans struggling to wade through shifting directives on mask usage and roiling debates about requiring workers to receive the vaccine.

In his speech, Mr. Biden emphasized that the people who got sickest from the Delta variant were unvaccinated, and that his administration was working to make vaccines available to every person who needed one. Fully vaccinated people are well protected against the worst outcomes of Covid-19 caused by the Delta variant.

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