"The pandemic is over, but the purge continues," Stephen Crampton, senior counsel for the conservative Thomas More Society told me.
We were talking about Zach Loesch, a Coast Guard aviation survival technician — a real hero about to lose his job because he won't betray his deeply held beliefs.
As Hurricane Ian walloped Florida, Loesch kicked through a house wall to rescue a disabled woman and her husband. Then he went back to get her wheelchair. He also rescued a bunch of dogs and cats.
President Joe Biden called to Loesch and other rescuers to thank them Friday.
But afterward, Loesch told Breitbart that he will have to leave the Coast Guard in 30 to 60 days — because he won't get vaccinated for COVID-19.
In September of 2021, Biden issued an executive order mandating that federal workers be vaccinated.
The order wasn't practical given staffing shortages in essential services.
In a nod to reality and the legal system, the mandate has been whittled down and postponed, but it still exists for members of the armed forces — the very people who sacrificed their personal safety to protect others.
This makes no sense: Biden is holding onto the military vaccine mandate even after he said the pandemic is over.
And even after the vaccine's effectiveness has not lived up to the hype. (That's not a hit on the vaccine developers. They tried but have not hit the mark they had hoped to achieve.)
The list of vaccinated individuals who got COVID includes Biden and the first lady.
After the Loesch phone call, the White House released a readout that reported Biden had asked Loesch and others "if they needed any additional support that he can provide to accelerate successful rescues; they indicated they have gotten what they need to execute their vital mission."
Loesch obviously thinks the government could not dismiss him, and that would be helpful, but he told Breitbart he didn't think it was appropriate to ruin his talk with the president by mentioning his pending dismissal.
Loesch added, "If I had asked any of the people I saved yesterday if they wanted to come with me even though I am unvaccinated, every single one of them would have said yes."
Loesch also disclosed that he had applied for a religious exemption — and been turned down.
He appealed. He was turned down again.
The Thomas More Society has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Coast Guard members who object to the mandate because they believe the vaccines were developed with fetal cell lines.
Their reasoning, to me, is irrelevant. It's their right to adhere to their deeply held beliefs that should be honored here.
Like other branches of the military, the Coast Guard is facing a considerable recruitment shortfall. America's national security is as perilous as I've ever seen. Yet the Biden administration is willing to lose good men and women over a vaccine that hasn't stopped the spread of COVID-19.
Asked during Tuesday's press briefing if Biden would reconsider the military vaccine mandate in light of his talk with Loesch, Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded in her usual foggy fashion.
Jean-Pierre said Biden "has the deepest respect" for the Coast Guard and suggested press ask the Coast Guard, even though the mandate is a Biden policy, and said that, "It's not something that I would comment from here."
"Who believes the government when they say anything these days?" Crampton asked. "They have lost all credibility with the American public."
Debra J. Saunders is a fellow with Discovery Institute's Chapman Center for Citizen Leadership. She has worked for more than 30 years covering politics on the ground and in Washington, D.C., as well as American culture, the news media, the criminal justice system and dubious trends in public schools and prestigious universities. As a White House correspondent and columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Saunders followed then-President Donald Trump from Saudi Arabia to Singapore, covered campaign rallies and the advent of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and was an active questioner in the James S. Brady Briefing Room. She also covered the early weeks of the Biden administration. Read Debra J. Saunders' Reports — More Here.