Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera went off on one of his holier-than-thou rants Tuesday on “The Five,” taking exception to U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, taking a stand against Southwest Airlines for pushing vaccine mandates on its employees, suggesting that the GOP lawmaker was “getting sexual pleasure” from the pushback being seen.
Roy responded to reports of an alleged protest against vaccine mandates by telling Southwest to “eat it,” while announcing that he was drawing up legislation to require all businesses to pay back their bailout money if they terminate employees for noncompliance.
In a development many never saw coming, the issue of forcing COVID-19 vaccines on employees after President Joe Biden’s call for a “public-private partnership” on the issue, appears to be coming to a head over airline pilots, with nearly all major airliners requiring employees to get vaccinated. A number of pilots are resisting and speaking out about their objections. Southwest finds itself at the center of that storm after being forced to cancel over a thousand flights over the weekend. The debate is still raging over the cause — the airliner says weather and air traffic control issues were responsible, but the word on the ground is that there was a massive “sick out” to protest Southwest’s vaccine mandate.
The Fox News quintet did a segment on the issue, with co-host Dana Perino setting it up by running clips of two pilots voicing their frustrations.
(Video: Fox News)
“It’s a stressful industry, it’s a stressful job. And the Biden administration mandates being imposed through the federal government are putting an added burden, added stress onto the employees of the airline industry,” commercial airline pilot Jason Kunisch said in the first clip, with pilot Shawn Walker adding in the second, “An ultimatum is not the right way to go about this. My health and my medical choices is more important to me than my career at this point.”
Before Rivera chimed in with his full-throated support of vaccine mandates, co-host Jesse Watters was given the floor and he spoke about how White House press secretary Jen Psaki was not being truthful while commenting on the latest developments, which included Southwest CEO Gary Kelly saying he does not agree with vaccine mandates but President Biden is forcing his hand. He urged noncompliant employees to “seek an accommodation either for medical or religious reasons,” insisting the “objective here, obviously, is to improve health and safety, not for people to lose their jobs.”
Psaki said on Monday, “I know there was a little hubbub over the course of the last few days about Southwest Airlines. We now know that some of those claims were absolutely false and, actually, the issues were completely unrelated to vaccine mandates.”
“Well, Psaki is not being honest. It actually is people upset with the vax mandates and they’re coming from everywhere. And the Southwest CEO actually admitted that that’s something that they’re dealing with. He doesn’t even want to do the vax mandates, he told CNBC. He is doing it because of the Biden administration mandate,” Watters said. “And that pilot who we had on first on ‘Primetime’ last night, he says because they make this Pfizer vaccine, or many of these vaccines that include the fetal tissue from the unborn, he has a religious problem with that. He wants a religious exemption. They were promised religious exemptions. They were promised medical exemptions, they were promised exemptions if you have antibodies. There has to be language that they have to be able to negotiate, and Southwest is not negotiating with them.
“So, if the White House and Congress are exempt from all these vaxx mandates, why is everybody else not getting an exemption? It’s not right,” he continued. “And now Texas has come in and said, listen, if you’re going to be headquartered here — Southwest is — you’re not going to be having to go along with these federal mandates. So that set up a huge conflict between the feds and the states. Who knows how it’s going to play out. I just think this is the beginning, you’re going to have firefighters, police officers, teachers. Eventually, you’re going to lose 10 percent of the workforce across the board on all union jobs, and that’s not returning to normal.”
Rivera was given the floor and after taking issue with Watters “tone and his anger,” he put forth a hearty defense for mandates before attacking resisting pilots, saving his ire for Congressman Roy for last.
“I believe that mandates exist for a reason,” he cried. “The Supreme Court in a 1905 decision made very clear — unless this court reverses reverses over a century of precedence — the federal government has the constitutional right to impose a mandate —“
Watters chimed in to inform Rivera that he “misread the law,” noting that the 1905 case involved states, not the federal government.
“And these airline pilots are screwing the public, and the worst of all, it’s not the pilots, because I say use whatever weapons you have,” Rivera ranted on. “It’s Chip Roy, congressman from San Antonio and Austin, this guy is an ideological lunatic. He said, when he looked at the crowd of people who could not get on their Southwest flights because they were cancelled and so forth, ‘this makes me happier than I can possibly articulate. Eat it, Southwest Airlines.’ This is a guy getting almost sexual pleasure from the chaos and the disruption.“
The remark prompted Watters to fire back, with a smile, “He’s not getting sexual pleasure, Geraldo. You’re sick! To make this sexual — you’re a sick man.”
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