Mississippi governor Tate Reeves (R.) on Sunday called President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates an “attack” on “hard-working Americans” that the president is using to distract from a number of issues that are “driving his poll numbers into the ground.”
“The question here is not about what we do in Mississippi, it’s about what this president is trying to impose on the American worker,” Reeves said during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union.
"If Mississippi were its own country, you would be second in the world only to Peru in terms of deaths per capita… With all due respect, governor, your way is failing." CNN's @jaketapper presses Mississippi GOP Gov. Tate Reeves on the state's Covid-19 death rate. #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/jtbp7XbrKs
— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) September 19, 2021
The governor’s comments come after Biden announced earlier this month that he would require all private employers with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccines or weekly testing. The president also expanded vaccine requirements for health workers.
“The reality is 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 Republican governor accused Biden of trying “to change the political narrative away from Afghanistan and away from the other issues that are driving his poll numbers into the ground.”
The president’s approval rating has drooped to 43 percent, according to the results of a Rasmussen poll released on Friday.
The comments were not the first time the governor has clashed with Biden over COVID-19 measures: in March, the president accused Reeves and Texas Governor Greg Abbott of “Neanderthal thinking” over their decision to lift their states’ mask mandate.
At that time, Reeves had signed an executive order lifting COVID-19 restrictions on businesses in favor of statewide guidelines residents may choose to follow.
“The governor’s office is getting out of the business of telling people what they can and cannot do,” Reeves said then.
Meanwhile on Sunday, host Jake Tapper said that Mississippi leads the country in COVID-19 deaths per capita, Reeves said that the deaths were a “lagging indicator.” The governor said that the state’s deaths had fallen from peaks earlier in the pandemic.