On Dec. 14, Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed a letter along with four other state governors, requesting that U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin “reconsider” the mandate that all National Guard members get the COVID shot or face punishment.
Two days later, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott went a step further, telling Austin, flat out, that Texas will not impose President Biden’s mandate on its National Guard members.
Thirty-eight members of the Alaska National Guard sent Dunleavy a letter back in early September, urging him defend them from coercive vaccines which would have a “negative impact on military morale, cohesion, and readiness.” Dunleavy had remained publicly silent on the issue until announcing that he had signed the joint request letter earlier this week.
Gov. Abbot, however, has been actively defending his guardsmen for months.
In August, he signed an executive order prohibiting “governmental entities” in Texas from enforcing vax mandates. That was followed up with an October order that Texas guardsmen not be punished for declining the experimental injections.
Abbot’s Dec. 16 letter to Secretary Austin comes after the Department of Defense threatened to cut off the flow of federal dollars for unvaccinated guardsmen late last month.
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“As Governor of Texas, I am the commander-in-chief of this State’s militia,” Abbot wrote to Austin. “In that capacity, on October 4, 2021, I ordered the Adjutant General of Texas to comply with my Executive Order GA-39. If unvaccinated guardsmen suffer any adverse consequences within the State of Texas, they will have only President Biden and his Administration to blame. The State of Texas will not enforce this latest COVID-19 vaccine mandate against its guardsmen. If the federal government keeps threatening to defund the Texas National Guard, I will deploy every legal tool available to me as Governor in defense of these American heroes.”