Jen Psaki Rips Gov. Brian Kemp for Fighting Vaccine Mandate


White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki ripped Georgia Governor Brian Kemp for his opposition to President Joe Biden’s Covid vaccine mandates.

Psaki briefed reporters on Friday, and wrapped up with the now-regular appearance of a local reporter via video chat. This time, it was Rafael Olavarría of Univision 23 Atlanta.

Mr. Olavarría asked Psaki what her message to Kemp’s opposition to the mandates would be, given the low vaccination rate and potential for spread of Omicron in the state:

MR. OLAVARRÍA: Hello, Secretary Psaki, and thank you for taking my question. I’ll ask you something that is a cause of concern for our communities here in Georgia.

As you probably know, our state is only — we have only 51 percent of our population fully vaccinated, and we even have counties where only 20 percent of our residents are vaccinated.

Yesterday, Dr. Cameron Webb from the White House COVID-19 Response Team told me that states like Georgia are potentially some of the most vulnerable ones to the new variant.

Nevertheless, our Governor, Brian Kemp, has been laser focused on fighting federal vaccine requirements, calling them “unlawful” and “unconstitutional.”

And as cases of Omicron variant increase in the U.S. and with Georgia as one of the most vulnerable states, I would like to know what is the White House’s message to Governor Kemp?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would say our message to Governor Kemp is: If you’re not going to be a part of protecting the people of Georgia, ensuring that they can take steps to save their own lives, save their neighbors’ lives and their children’s, then you should get out of the way, because businesses are implementing steps across the country, including in Georgia, to put in place vaccine or testing requirements, hospital associations are, universities are, and people — and what we’ve seen as one of the biggest barriers — and this is something we can do from the federal government — is access.

So, our hope is that we can continue to work in a nonpartisan way with health officials in Georgia, as we do across the country, to incl- — increase and expand access to not just testing but also vaccination.

That’s something that we announced that we’re going to take additional steps on yesterday, and we’re looking forward to building on.

Watch above via C-Span.

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