BIDEN AND TRUMP: APPROACHES TOWARD BATTLING COVID-19
Now more than ever, there is a distinct division between Democrats and Republicans, and at times it seems like America is being torn apart by opposing political parties. In recent years, there have been different opinions on the most efficient way of combating the COVID-19 pandemic. However divided Democrats and Republicans may be, most agree with receiving vaccinations. Both the Biden Administration and former President Donald Trump have been strongly urging people to get COVID-19 vaccinations. During President Biden’s speech on December 21, 2021, he even praised former President Donald Trump for receiving his booster shot. “It may be one of the few things he and I agree on,” Biden said. Biden also stressed the importance of getting booster shots, stating, "People with booster shots are highly protected. Join them. Join us." Trump was pleasantly surprised by Biden’s words, and the media was shocked to see them agreeing with each other.
However, when it comes to COVID tests, President Biden previously criticized his predecessor’s efforts to make them available, even though his own administration is being blamed for shortages all over the country. In December 2020, then president-elect Biden tried to hold Trump’s ”feet to the fire'' over his COVID-19 response. The Washington Post reported that Biden called it a “travesty” that the lack of testing remained an issue. With an increased demand for COVID-19 tests, the Biden Administration announced a plan to purchase 500 million at-home rapid tests for COVID-19 and distribute them for free.
In addition to an increase in COVID testing, President Biden wanted a vaccine mandate. He announced it on January 4, 2022, for workers in large businesses. He stated that jobs with 100 or more employees must implement a written policy that requires workers to become fully vaccinated. Anyone who isn't vaccinated has to get tested at least once a week and wear a mask. However, the Supreme Court blocked the Biden Administration’s mask mandate for large private businesses, but they kept this law for healthcare workers in facilities that accept Medicare and Medicaid. The court stated that Congress gave the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the power to regulate occupational dangers, but it was not given the authority to regulate public health.
In a separate released ruling on the administration’s vaccination rules for healthcare workers, a 5-4 majority sided with the Biden Administration. President Biden and the majority of Congress agreed on the vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. The Supreme Court justices opposed the mandate due to the risk of many people being fired, and also because of the shortage of healthcare workers this would cause.
The Biden Administration estimated that the COVID-19 rules for businesses and healthcare workers would apply to around 100 million Americans. Despite the rising surge of Omicron cases, 27 states filed lawsuits against this mandate. Many large businesses, including Citigroup, Nike, and Columbia Sportswear, have recently said they would begin firing unvaccinated workers. As of January 19, Starbucks is no longer requiring its employees to be vaccinated as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
President Joe Biden even said in a statement that the Supreme Court chose to block requirements that are life-saving for workers. Biden called on states and businesses to step up and voluntarily institute vaccination requirements to protect workers, customers, and the broader community.
Vazquez, M. & Carvajal, N. (2021, December 22). Biden offers rare praise of Trump during Covid speech. CNN. Retrieved January 4, from https://www.cnn.com/2021/12/21/politics/biden-trump-covid-vaccine-booster/index.html
Garger, K. (2021, December 21). Trump ‘very appreciative’ of Biden’s praise for Operation Warp Speed. New York Post. Retrieved January 5, from https://nypost.com/2021/12/21/trump-very-appreciative-of-bidens-praise-for-operation-warp-speed/
DeMarche, E. (2021, January 4). Biden once called Trump’s COVID-19 testing push a ‘travesty,’ faces own criticism. Fox News. Retrieved January 5, from https://standupandspeakoutamerica.com/news-article/biden-once-called-trumps-covid-19-testing-push-a-travesty-faces-own-criticism/
Visser, N. (2021, February 12). Biden Says Trump ‘Did Not Do His Job’ To Prepare For COVID-19 Vaccination Blitz. Huff Post. Retrieved January 19, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/biden-trump-did-not-do-job-covid-19_n_60260a94c5b680717ee6b2a4
Farrington, J. (2022, January 3). When Will Biden's COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Take Effect? Market Realist. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from https://marketrealist.com/p/biden-vaccine-mandate-effective-date/
Breuninger, K., Kimball, S., & Wilkie, C. Supreme Court blocks Biden Covid vaccine mandate for businesses, allows health-care worker rule. CNBC. Retrieved January 19, 2022, from https://www.cnbc.com/2022/01/13/supreme-court-ruling-biden-covid-vaccine-mandates.html