White House press secretary Jen Psaki lit into congressional Republicans threatening a government shutdown over vaccine mandates, saying they advocate for those who would "infect their coworkers, our children, filling hospitals" with COVID-19 patients.
"They want to shut the government down in order to advocate for people to assert that on society," she said.
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In the Senate, Republican Mike Lee of Utah is leading an effort to delay a bill to extend government funding, which expires at midnight on Friday. A delay could cause a brief and partial government shutdown.
Democrats are siding with the Biden vaccine mandates despite successful court challenges and mounting opposition from Republicans and several workers nationwide. Biden’s mandate has been put on hold in some states due to court challenges, and the administration has suspended enforcement for private businesses, encouraging them to institute mandates on their own.
Psaki also slammed former President Donald Trump and his supporters amid reports he may have tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the first presidential debate in 2020.
"You have supporters of the former president who withheld information, reportedly, about testing positive and appeared, apparently, at a debate," Psaki said. "They also held events at the White House, reportedly with military veterans and military families ... and they did that without disclosing."
The press secretary attacked Trump again when asked about Biden's statement last year that any president responsible for more than 220,000 virus deaths should not remain as leader of the United States. Fox News's Peter Doocy pointed out that more people have died from COVID-19 under Biden than Trump, asking if the statement still stands.
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"The former president was suggesting people inject bleach," Psaki said. "He apparently didn't even share with people he was going to interact with that he had tested positive for COVID himself. He continued to provide a form of misinformation, which probably led to people not taking steps forward to protect themselves ... I think there's a pretty stark difference between their approaches."