President Joe Biden on Thursday said he believes police officers and first responders who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 should be fired over the decision.
What are the details?
During a CNN Town Hall event Thursday night , Biden told moderator Anderson Cooper that it's unacceptable for emergency services workers to remain unvaccinated.
Noting that as many as 1 in 3 emergency responders in cities across the country are balking at city vaccine mandates, Cooper asked, "I'm wondering where you stand on that. Should police officers, emergency responders be mandated to get vaccines? And if not, should they be, stay at home, let go?"
Biden responded, "Yes and yes."
Cheers and applause broke out in response to the president's remarks.
Biden responded to Cooper's question by stating that he and his administration decided to hand down vaccine mandates because he didn't feel there was any other reasonable choice. He also added that he highly doubts there will be mass revolts against required vaccines, or that employees will stage large-scale walkouts over the requirement.
"I waited until July to talk about mandating because I tried everything else possible," he said. "The mandates are working. All the stuff about people leaving and people getting it, you have everyone from United Airlines to Spirit — all these airlines, we're not gonna get ... Ninety-six, 97% of the people have gotten the vaccine. All the talk about all these folks who are gonna leave the military if they are mandated, not true. You got about a 90-some percent vaccination rate. I mean, so the idea is that, look. The two things that concern me. One, are those who just try to make this a political issue."
He then mocked those who are against COVID-19 vaccines on the basis of personal choice.
"'Freedom! 'I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID,'" Biden joked, and was met with applause, laughs, and cheers. "No, I mean, come on, freedom."
He continued, "Number two, the second one is that the gross misinformation out there."
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) appeared on Fox News Friday morning, where she slammed the president for his remarks on police and first responders as well as for mocking the American public, much of which prides itself on freedom of choice.
"My reaction is this is absolutely absurd and sadly it's very typical of Joe Biden and the Biden administration to attack Americans' everyday freedoms," she said. "First of all, they're turning their backs on law enforcement officers and first responders who put their lives and their health on the line every single day, particularly during the COVID pandemic. ... These mandates are unconstitutional and it's an attack on our very freedoms in this country and to have the President of the United States mock freedom, frankly, that's un-American."
You can listen to the rest of Stefanik's remarks in the video below.