What will Gov. Abbott do with vax mandate in the Texas National Guard?
These were supposed to be part-time citizen soldiers, but so many of them have served multiple tours of duty in the Middle East. More recently, nearly all of them are at the Texas-Mexico border attempting to do the job the federal government won’t do. Now that same federal government is threatening to terminate thousands of Texas guardsmen if they fail to get a shot that quite literally is outdated, and numerous data points and testimony from military doctors raise concerns about adverse reactions. Will Texas Gov. Greg Abbott stand up for his Guard? What about other GOP governors?
The Biden administration officials know that with mounting opposition to COVID mandates, they must let some of the pressure out of the balloon and ease some of the restrictions affecting the average family. But they also understand that the military is a minority of the minority and that they can get away with illogical and illegal mandates on it for far longer. At present, it appears that no number of facts on the ground will change the minds in the Pentagon in terminating their July 1 deadline on all Army soldiers, including state guardsmen, to receive the experimental shots. While the damage has already been done in most circles of the active-duty military, there are thousands of Texas guardsmen who have not gotten the shots and are now starring down the barrel of losing their careers and all retirement benefits.
Here are the most recent vaccination numbers released by the Texas Military Department obtained by the Blaze:
As you can see, just 47 percent of the Texas Army National Guard are fully vaccinated, and 45 percent — accounting for 8,750 troops – have not begun the shots. At the border, 48 percent of the soldiers, nearly 3,000 of them, are unvaccinated, according to my source. And from speaking to two sources on the ground in the Texas Guard, it appears that most of them will refuse to get the shots. Will Gregg Abbott allow them to be terminated? Will Republicans in the US Senate vote for the upcoming budget bill that continues to fund the DOD mandate?
The obvious question everyone should be asking is why are the GOP governors not uniting at a meeting and declaring the DOD mandate null and void? Remember, while governors have no control over the active-duty military, they do control the chain of command for disciplinary actions in their respective guards, absent a “Title 10” order from the president. At a minimum, each governor should direct the adjunct general of the Guard to announce that the state plans to fight the mandates and will dismiss any officer who encourages, much less coerces, soldiers to get the shots. That is fully within the legal authority of a governor.
Obviously, the Biden administration could use purse strings to gain leverage by threatening to cut off funding for the soldiers, but it’s hard for Biden to stand before America with waning popularity both for himself and the mandates and threaten to deny pay to the guardsmen in half the states. But that would require Republican governors to get on the playing field and pick the fight first.
The problem is that the Texas Military Department officials in charge of health issues in the Guard are downright on the same side as Biden, even though they work for Greg Abbott, who issued an order banning the mandate! In December, the Office of the Joint Surgeon of the Texas Military Department sent out a letter to doctors scoffing at religious exemptions and essentially ordering them into bullying soldiers to get the shots. The letter was publicized by Allen West, who is one of the candidates challenging Abbott for the GOP nomination on March 1.
Despite recognizing the governor’s order, the letter implores the doctors to take sides. “As a reminder, it is our job to convince Soldiers to receive the vaccine. If you, personally are not able to fulfill this role, please, privately message the State Surgeon.”
Read the whole article here.