COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster is standing firm in his opposition to President Joe Biden’s vaccine executive order.
Biden announced last week that he would require companies with more than 100 workers to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine or offer weekly testing to their employees. That led McMaster to say on Twitter that he would fight to the ‘gates of hell’ to protect the liberty and livelihood of every South Carolinian.
On Tuesday, McMaster told reporters after a groundbreaking event at Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia that he expects legal challenges to the president’s mandate.
“The question is what authority does the federal government have to issue mandates we so far have not seen,” McMaster said. “We don’t know how they would look like or how they plan to implement them.”
The governor said people shouldn’t be forced by the government to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I don’t believe there is constitutional authority for the president or the administration to require people to get a vaccination,” he said. “I think that would be an unprecedented use of the law.”
McMaster said he is opposed to mandates but thinks getting vaccinated is the right thing to do. Hospitals in South Carolina have said the majority of those currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
The governor urged anyone who isn’t vaccinated to get their shots if they want. The Department of Health and Environmental Control said nearly 50% of eligible South Carolinians, about 2.1 million people, are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
South Carolina lags behind most states when it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations.
“We can get the information to the people, tell them what works, what doesn’t work and let them make the best decision for their own lives,” McMaster said.