Former Trump adviser reportedly leaving Newsmax after public fight over vaccine mandate

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Editor’s Note: This post has been updated with a statement from Newsmax:

“Any claims that Mr. Cortes was fired or quit Newsmax over vaccine issues is completely false. Newsmax never has had, nor does it ever plan to have, a vaccine mandate and we have taken every step to make sure staff can easily opt-out of Biden’s proposed OSHA requirements.”

Newsmax host and former Trump advisor Steve Cortes will be exiting the network after what a new report claims is a very public fallout over a company vaccine mandate, calling it a “Medical Apartheid mandate.”

Cortes, also a former CNN contributor, joined the conservative network just six months ago as the co-host of a weeknight show, “Cortes & Pellegrino” with former One America News correspondent Jenn Pellegrino.

“Tensions between Cortes and the MAGA cable network had long been simmering,” the Daily Beast reported, but Cortes’ public opposition to Newsmax’s vaccine mandate allegedly caused those tensions to boil over.

According to the Daily Beast report published Friday, Newsmax allegedly informed employees earlier this month it would be implementing a vaccine mandate starting January 4, 2022. Employees would reportedly be required to be fully vaccinated by then, or subject to weekly COVID testing and wearing a mask, according to a staff-wide email that Mediaite claimed to have obtained.

Newsmax, however, has refuted claims of imposing a vaccine mandate and that vaccine issues have played any part in Cortes’ exit.

While other Newsmax hosts have spoken out against forced compliance, Cortes’ campaign against a mandate has been unrelenting.

“I will not comply w/ any organization’s attempt to enforce Biden’s capricious & unscientific Medical Apartheid mandate. I will not be forced into the injection, nor will I disclose my vaccination status. No one should be pressured to choose between medical privacy & their job,” Cortes wrote on Twitter earlier this month.

Cortes called the vaccine mandate an example of “dictatorial rule” and said during his show in early November, “There is zero, and I mean zero, moral or ethical obligation for anyone to be compelled to get vaccinated.”

The Newsmax host has called mandates “insane workplace discrimination.”

Cortes also made waves for “still insist[ing] the election was stolen,” according to a Daily Beast source.

That source claimed that the host is on delay because the network “can’t trust him” and his comments surrounding the election mirror what landed the network in hot water, facing defamation lawsuits.

Cortes has continued to rail against mandates and Big Pharma on Twitter, especially amid announcements of a new variant of the virus, dubbed omicron.

On Friday, the Newsmax host tweeted, “What a surprise, Pfizer wants to inject you. Again. Don’t let Big Pharma run your life. We’re sovereign citizens. Your family’s medical decisions shouldn’t be compelled – not by Government, Employers, or Schools.”

“Do Not Comply!” He wrote in another tweet.

Regarding the potential for future vaccines tailored to specific variants, Cortes wrote, “What a surprise?! Big Pharma has a solution. It’ll only cost Americans billions of dollars and total compliance with asinine unscientific restrictions…but that ‘totally-safe’ new injection is just about the corner, kids. Roll up your sleeve and smile as they jab you…”

It is unclear when Cortes’ last airdate will be, but reports predict his departure will be solidified as early as next week.


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