Joe Biden Urges Private Businesses to ‘Step Up with Vaccine Requirements,’ Ignores Afghanistan Crisis

President Joe Biden answers a question from a reporter about the situation in Afghanistan as he speaks in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Sunday, Aug. 22, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

President Joe Biden urged private businesses to “step up with vaccine requirements” for employees, forcing them to get vaccinated despite looming hesitancy and personal concerns, all while failing to address the crisis in Afghanistan during a public address on Monday.

“I’m calling on more companies in the private sector to step up with vaccine requirements that will reach millions more people,” the 78-year-old president said as he delivered remarks at the White House following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the Pfizer vaccine for those 16 and older.

A woman waits to go in a restaurant in New York's Upper West Side on August 17, 2021, the first day where you have to show proof of having a Covid-19 vaccination to participate in indoor dining. - The vaccine mandate also includes indoor gyms, and all indoor entertainment in New York City. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman waits to go in a restaurant in New York’s Upper West Side on August 17, 2021, the first day where you have to show proof of having a Covid-19 vaccination to participate in indoor dining. – The vaccine mandate also includes indoor gyms, and all indoor entertainment in New York City. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP) (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

“If you’re a business leader, a nonprofit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that — require it,” Biden said. “It only makes sense to require a vaccine to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Biden also urged Americans, who suggested they would not get the shot after it had full FDA approval, to get vaccinated.

“It has now happened,” he said. “The moment you’ve been waiting for is here.”

People gather to protest recent mandates requiring vaccines against the coronavirus before the "We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert" in New York's Central Park, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. We Love NYC, The Homecoming Concert celebrates its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic despite surging cases and hospitalizations due to the delta variant. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)

People gather to protest recent mandates requiring vaccines against the coronavirus before the “We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert” in New York’s Central Park, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021. We Love NYC, The Homecoming Concert celebrates its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic despite surging cases and hospitalizations due to the delta variant. (AP Photo/Jeenah Moon)

Biden’s push follows aggressive mandates from local leaders, such as New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who this month introduced the controversial Key to NYC Pass — an initiative ultimately forcing indoor restaurants, gyms, and large venues to discriminate against the unvaccinated by denying them entry or service.

“We know human nature. A lot of people hearing there’s a requirement or requirement coming respond to that. It’s normal. It’s natural. The voluntary phase was great,” de Blasio said.

“[It] went on for seven full months, lots of incentives, lots of dialogue, lots of communication, lots of opportunity to talk to your doctor or pediatrician. The voluntary phase is over,” he declared.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - AUGUST 16: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a faith vigil for victims of an earthquake in Haiti at the steps of St. Jerome's Roman Catholic Church on August 16, 2021 in the Little Caribbean neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City. Elected officials along with faith and community leaders held a vigil for victims of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on Saturday, the deadliest since the January 2010 earthquake. There have been at least 1,297 confirmed deaths and 5,700 more injured from the quake as of today. The country, which is still dealing with a political crisis from the assassination of its President Jovenel Moïse last month, is also facing Tropical Storm Grace, which is expected to hit the country between Monday night and Tuesday morning according to projections from U.S. National Hurricane Center. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 16: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a faith vigil for victims of an earthquake in Haiti at the steps of St. Jerome’s Roman Catholic Church on August 16, 2021 in the Little Caribbean neighborhood of Brooklyn borough in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

New York City Businesses failing to comply could face fines up to $2,000, although enforcement is not expected to begin until September.

At the time, Biden explicitly condoned de Blasio’s mandate, telling a reporter, “I do” after being asked if he believed states and cities should take similar action.

In this image provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, Marines assist with security at an evacuation control checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

In this image provided by the U.S. Marine Corps, Marines assist with security at an evacuation control checkpoint during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (Staff Sgt. Victor Mancilla/U.S. Marine Corps via AP)

Notably, Biden failed to address the crisis in Afghanistan once during his speech and did not take questions afterward.

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