(Video: Fox News)
Leave it to Fox News host Chris Wallace to try to flip the narrative by using Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s own words against him when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
In an interview last week on Newsmax, Paxton spoke against President Joe Biden’s mandate on vaccines that’s forcing thousands of Americans to choose between their conscience and their paycheck, saying: “I would urge businesses, don’t listen to the president, he’s bullying Americans. And what they should do is take care of their own businesses. Take care of their own workers.”
Wallace apparently equates taking care of workers to companies having the right to enforce vaccine mandates.
“You say that Texas companies should take care of their own workers. So, given that, how do you justify the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, issuing an executive order that bans any business in Texas from issuing a vaccine mandate, and how do you justify the governor issuing a ban on all school districts on mask mandates?” Wallace asked. “A ban that was overturned just this week by a federal judge.”
Paxton responded to say that Abbott believes mask mandates “are unnecessary and that vaccine requirements are also unnecessary.”
“So it’s my job as a state’s attorney to go defend what he’s done and what the legislature’s done. And I’m perfectly comfortable doing that,” he added.
“I just want to drill down on this a little bit,” the Fox News host countered. “You said that Texas companies should take care of their own workers. Is that consistent with the governor’s executive order and your enforcement of that order, which bans companies from taking care of their own workers as they see fit?”
“Yes, so what I was trying to say in that clip was the president doesn’t have the authority to force companies,” Paxton replied. “Obviously, we’ve gotten a stay in the Fifth Circuit to stop him from forcing companies to require their workers to get the vaccine or be fired. And what I’m saying to these companies is you don’t have to listen to him because he’s out there saying now you should do it anyway, despite the fact that we have a stay from a higher court.”
Again, Wallace pressed on what he clearly saw as a hypocritical stance if a business wanted to enforce a mandate under the guise of taking care of its employees.
“Yeah, but you said that the business should take care of their own workers, and the governor is saying that they can’t take care of their own workers as they see fit, they’re prohibited from deciding if they so choose to issue a vaccine mandate,” he said. “That’s not consistent.”
Paxton replied that they are “different types of requirements,” and spoke about the impact of losing thousands of essential workers over vaccine mandates,
“We’ve got state government requirements. So it’s clear that the governor has a different executive order for them. And we’ve been in all types of litigation with school districts and counties trying to stop them from forcing mandates — in San Antonio, vaccines — and we’ve been successful,” he explained. “We’ve actually had no lawsuits against businesses. There’s a lot more freedom with businesses to make their own decisions. But what I would say is that they should definitely consider their employees because we’re in a situation right now with our economy where we can’t afford to lose transportation employees and health care workers, or law enforcement officers. And that’s happening all over the country. And I think it’s going to have a negative impact on our economy and our ability to help people.”
Refusing to leave the issue alone, Wallace pressed once more with what Paxton would call a “confusing” inquiry.
“I just want to go through this one more time. You’re saying that they should have the authority and the ability to decide what their workers should do. The governor’s executive order prohibits them from deciding what they want to do. He bans vaccine mandates,” Wallace said. ‘Isn’t a mandate by the federal government — are you saying there’s a difference between a mandate to get a vaccine from the federal government is different in terms of the ability to take care of their own from a state mandate not to have vaccine mandates?”
Paxton explained that the governor’s authority under state law differs from the president’s authority.
“Well, I think your question is a little confusing, but, yes, the federal government has no authority to do this. Right now we have OSHA guidelines that have not been authorized by Congress,” he informed Wallace. “They absolutely have no authority to do this. The governor has a different authority under state law that the legislatures give him and he’s operating under that state law. And so we’re doing our best to defend — “
Wallace interrupted to further grill the state’s attorney, “So he can tell private businesses what to do? It’s okay? And they can’t take care of their own?”
Again, Paxton cited the principles upon which the nation was founded to painstakingly explain the difference once more.
“I definitely agree that states have more authority over these areas than the federal government. The federal government has limited authority. And if Congress has not granted that authority to OSHA — and I would even question whether Congress has authority,” he said. “Yes, states have a lot of authority to deal with what’s going on in their states. And I think that’s been clear from the founding of our country.”
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