Governor Jim Justice (R-WV) said Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation” that there was “no chance” he would mandate a COVID-19 vaccine for public education students because “mandates only divide us.”
Partial transcript as follows:
BRENNAN: You yourself, at your press conference this week, encouraged parents to vaccinate their children. California’s governor is mandating kids 12 to 17 get a vaccine to go into the schoolroom after around January. Are you going to mandate it for school kids as well?
JUSTICE: No chance.
JUSTICE: No chance.
BRENNAN: Why are you mandate as governor- as governor, you mandate- we looked, measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, polio, other vaccines, why won’t you put COVID on that list?
JUSTICE: Now, you know, you don’t have to come in so hot you guys asked me to come, you know? But to bottom line the whole thing is just this,–
BRENNAN: Well, I am asking you to clarify.
JUSTICE: I truly- I truly believe that the mandates only divide us and only divide us more. From the standpoint of mandates, I don’t believe in imposing upon our freedoms over and over and over. And I’ve said that over. I don’t know how many times I got to say it, but from the standpoint of our children, I’m going to still- I’m going to still encourage in every way because I truly believe that the more people that we get vaccinated, the less people will die. But at the same time, we still got to stand up for who we are. For crying out loud, we’re Americans.
BRENNAN: I know this has become a big issue for the Republican Party, which- which you are a part of in terms of framing this as a freedom of choice, but for small children. You mandate that their parents get them those immunizations so that they are safe in the classroom. They don’t have freedoms as children to choose whether or not to get polio or not. We protect them against that. Why don’t you want to protect those children by mandating it?
JUSTICE: To- to think that I don’t want to protect the children is ridiculous. I mean, we all want to protect our children. But parents have decisions to make in this- in this situation too, just like the local officials have decisions to make. For crying out loud, you know, that’s- that’s who should be making these decisions is the parents, you know. And- and from the standpoint of the federal government–
BRENNAN: Well, you’d make those decisions as a governor, actually.
JUSTICE: Well, we can go on and on about this forever, but- but in this situation, we’re not going to change and- and really and truly, it never has really mattered to me. You know, I do think this nation is so divided from the status standpoint of partisanship, it’s unbelievable. And right now, what you had AOC say just earlier, you know, our team needs to be better. Well, you elect individuals, you don’t elect a team, you elect individuals to come to Washington and voice their opinions.
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