Amid growing fears that Americans could face more COVID-19 lockdowns or mandates, Republican candidates vying for the 2024 presidential nomination say they are firmly against such restrictive measures.
“No mask mandates,” candidate Vivek Ramaswamy told The Daily Signal on Thursday. “No vaccine mandates. No lockdown ever again.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas reminded The Daily Signal of how he handled the pandemic within his own state: “No, I would not,” he said, asked if he would support more lockdowns or mask mandates. “During the last pandemic, as governor, we had no shelter-in-place orders or business lockdown policies in Arkansas.”
Sen. Tim Scott is also adamantly against locking down the American people again.
“I have always been against mandates,” the South Carolina Republican told The Daily Signal on Thursday. “Period. I’m unapologetically a First Amendment kind of guy, so I believe that individual freedom is central to who we are as Americans.”
“It is important to call out the lies told by [Dr. Anthony] Fauci,” Scott added. “There was a devastating impact of their lies and theories. Human dignity comes from maximizing one’s potential, and the mandates and lockdowns hurt children, small businesses, and all Americans.”
Asked if former Vice President Mike Pence supports more COVID-19 lockdowns or mandates, spokesman Devin O’Malley replied: “Not a chance.”
A spokesman for Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, similarly decried the impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns on the American people.
“Lockdowns wreaked havoc on our economy and the mental and physical health of every American—especially our children,” spokesman Ken Farnaso told The Daily Signal. “Lockdowns, championed by leftist teachers unions, damaged our children’s’ education for a generation. A Haley administration will plan for the next pandemic and ensure we do not allow fear, government overreach, or bureaucrat-forced mandates to devastate our country ever again.”
On Wednesday, former President Donald Trump’s campaign released a video denouncing the Left’s push to “restart the COVID hysteria” and pledging that the United States would not return to lockdowns, mask mandates, and vaccine mandates.
“Hear my words—WE WILL NOT COMPLY,” the campaign posted on X, formerly Twitter.
“To every COVID tyrant who wants to take away our freedom, hear these words: We will not comply, so don’t even think about it,” the former president said. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
During the last presidential debate, the Florida governor promised: “As your president, I will never let the deep state bureaucrats lock you down.”
The Daily Signal reached out to all top GOP candidates regarding future lockdowns and mandates as well as to Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. and to President Joe Biden’s White House. Candidates Chris Christie, Doug Burgum, and Kennedy (as well as Trump and DeSantis) did not respond to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment.
On Thursday, the Biden administration released the “National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan.”
“We look to a future when Americans no longer fear lockdowns, shutdowns, and our kids not going to school,” the White House said. “It’s a future when the country relies on the powerful layers of protection we have built and invests in the next generation of tools to stay ahead of this virus.”
The plan emphasizes that the White House wants to keep kids in school and workers in the work place: “The path forward in the fight against COVID-19 is clear: schools, workers, and workplaces have resources and guidance to prevent shutdowns.”
A White House spokesperson told The Daily Signal on Thursday that the Biden administration expects updated COVID-19 vaccines to be available in mid-September. The White House will be encouraging Americans to get this vaccine in addition to their annual flu shots and, for people over 60 as well as infants, the RSV immunization.
This story has been updated to include a response from Asa Hutchinson.
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