South Dakota Kristi Noem (R) has vowed to fight President Joe Biden’s sweeping Covid-19 vaccination requirements. Noem has explicitly refused to follow the guidance of medical experts throughout the pandemic, actions that resulted in South Dakota harboring one of the worst outbreaks in the United States.
“This is not a power that is delegated to the federal government … My legal team is already working. And we will defend and protect our people from this unlawful mandate,” she said during an appearance on Fox News.
Noem has taken a largely hands-off approach to the pandemic, choosing to not mandate social distancing or the wearing of face masks. She has signed several executive orders that hamper the state’s ability to respond to the crisis, including one that bars government facilities from requiring proof of vaccination to access services.
“We are not going to restrict South Dakotans’ exercise of their freedoms with un-American policies like vaccine passports,” she said at the time.
Noem’s actions have become so notorious that a Rolling Stone profile referred to her as “The Covid Queen” of South Dakota.
President Biden’s announcement will affect roughly 100 million Americans. It will include a vaccine mandate for all federal workers and contractors, in addition to a requirement that large companies must mandate vaccines or regular testing for employees.
Biden expressed his frustration with the 25% of Americans who have not yet gotten a vaccine.
“What more is there to wait for? What more do you need to see?” he said. “We’ve made vaccinations free, safe and convenient. The vaccine has FDA approval. Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal has cost all of us. So please, do the right thing.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.