President Joe Biden's new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal employees and large companies will "harden opposition" against unvaccinated people, former Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., said.
Biden last week announced policies requiring most federal employees to get COVID-19 vaccines and pushing large employers to have their workers vaccinated or tested weekly.
"This is going to harden opposition," Christie said of Biden's mandate during an appearance on ABC’s "This Week." "Sometimes when you're a leader, you have to go in and use a sledgehammer. And I've been known to do that when I was governor.
"Sometimes it's appropriate, but this one was not the time to do it. We have to be persuasive, we have to continue to persuade."
Christie, who spent a week in an ICU due to COVID-19 last October, has participated in several public service campaigns promoting vaccine safety and efficacy. However, he condemned Biden's vaccine mandate.
"Working for the government and ordering government workers to have to have a mandate there's one thing, extending that to two-thirds of all the jobs and making it either give vaccine or not, it's also contradictory logically," Christie said.
Christie also questioned the administration's claims that every American needs to be vaccinated to protect already-vaccinated individuals.
"Because what they're telling us is, by all the data, that vaccinated people are very, very well-protected from anyone who's unvaccinated and who has it," Christie said, "yet they're saying to us, 'We have to do this to protect you.' Well, that’s protecting the unvaccinated from the unvaccinated."
Gov. Pete Ricketts, R-Neb., on Sunday called the new Biden administration mandates affecting private businesses and federal workers an "egregious outreach."
During an interview on Fox News, Ricketts said Republican governors could take the issue to court, while "working on other strategies" to block the mandates.
"I have been talking to my attorney general," Ricketts said. "He's coordinating with the other attorneys general across the country who share similar views about the overreach. This is a egregious overreach of federal authority. And as we see with these rules are, we will be able to know exactly how we will be able to challenge them in court."
Vice President Kamala Harris was criticized after tweeting that "protecting the vaccinated" would be pivotal in stopping the COVID-19 pandemic.
Harris' Sunday night post on Twitter seemed to add to the widespread confusion over vaccines coming from the Biden administration.
"By vaccinating the unvaccinated, increasing our testing and masking, and protecting the vaccinated, we can end this pandemic. That's exactly what we are committed to doing," Harris tweeted.
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