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Experts in public health law agree that Mr Biden has a solid legal basis, as his actions are grounded in federal workplace safety laws. They say Republican governors who insist that vaccination warrants are an intrusion on personal freedom need a reminder on their own state policies.

“This is sheer hypocrisy,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University, of Mr. Reeves’ remarks. “Even religious exemptions are being swept away in the state of Mississippi, so how can he say that an order that a president issues for the safety of workers, with the authorization of Congress, is an excessive infringement or in any way? way it’s unconstitutional?

A spokeswoman for Mr Reeves, Bailey Martin, rejected Mr Gostin’s claim. “The only hypocritical people are President Biden and his administration, who for months have said they will not impose the vaccine,” she said in an email, adding that Mr. Reeves would use “all of them. the tools at its disposal “to block mandates. .

Republican suspicion of vaccines was building up before the pandemic; when Donald J. Trump was running for president in 2016, he rejected established science by raising disproved claims that vaccines cause autism. Now, some of the governors argue that given the country’s disproportionate divisions and widespread suspicion of Washington, federal intervention would be counterproductive. It would be better, they say, to let government officials continue to argue that vaccines are safe and effective, and allow people to make decisions for themselves.

“I’m trying to overcome resistance, but the president’s actions under a mandate are toughening the resistance,” Arkansas Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. School mandates, he said, “have always come at the state level, never at the national level. So this is an unprecedented assumption of the authority of the federal mandate that truly disrupts and divides the country. “

Dr Jha said Mr Biden had actually done the Republicans a favor.

“What the president is doing is creating political cover for the Republican leadership, who will cry out loud because it is politically expedient,” he said. “But I think a lot of them really feel relieved because now they don’t have to do the hard work of convincing their constituents.”

Indeed, when the highly contagious Delta variant began to ravage their communities and overwhelm their hospitals, many elected Republicans – including Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader – began pleading for people to get vaccinated. . Most Republican governors criticizing Mr. Biden have said much the same thing.

nytimes Gt