KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Thursday, President Joe Biden issued a sweeping mandate that will require around 100 million Americans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson responded on Twitter, calling the action "heavy-handed."
Vaccination protects us from serious illness, but the decision to get vaccinated is a private health care decision that should remain as such. My administration will always fight back against federal power grabs and government overreach that threatens to limit our freedoms. (3/3)
— Governor Mike Parson (@GovParsonMO) September 9, 2021
"My administration will always fight back against federal power grabs and government overreach that threatens to limit our freedoms," he wrote.
On Friday, Parson attended a Red Friday event at a Northland McDonald's restaurant.
KSHB 41 News anchor Lindsay Shively asked him to expand on his thoughts on the mandate.
"It's a terrible policy, what the president did yesterday. I think it undermines the whole Constitution of our country," Parson said about the decision.
He said he believes small businesses might be deterred from expanding with the new policy requiring vaccination or testing for companies with over 100 employees.
"You know, there's just lots of policy problems with that kind of policy that the president is trying to put on. I don't think it's well thought through," Parson said. "We're just gonna have to see what actually works today, but I will guarantee you we will push back."
Biden is asking governors to require school employees to get vaccinated, but Parson said he will not ask that of employees.
"The states are the ones that should be making choices for ourselves... the federal government should be assisting us," Parson said. "I trust the local people to make the right decision."
The governor went on to say that the announcement is a way to distract from the "fiasco" in Afghanistan.
He said he does not yet know if he will call a special legislative session to address the president's new guidance.
"I don't know at this point that I would be calling a special session on that because I read right now, the attorney general will push back on the legal front, and then we're going to push back as governors," Parson said.
Gov. Parson said that COVID-19 cases in Missouri are actually on the decline.
"But the reality of it is our numbers are going down, you know, on the COVID front. Even the positivity rate, we were down by almost a third. Word was hospital rates are going down," he said.