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Oklahoma officials detail ongoing battle against federal vaccine mandates

Oklahoma officials detail ongoing battle against federal vaccine mandate
Oklahoma officials detail ongoing battle against federal vaccine mandate
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OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) - Oklahoma officials, including Gov. Kevin Stitt and Attorney General John O'Connor, held a press conference on Tuesday to detail their ongoing battle with federal vaccine mandates.

Stitt argued that the Biden administration's Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, overstepped his constitutional authority by subjecting the National Guard to the vaccine mandate.

Stitt had asked Austin to suspend the mandate and directed his new Adjutant General, Thomas Mancino, to assure members that they will not be punished for not being vaccinated.

WATCH: View the press conference below or by clicking here

Austin rejected it and said any National Guard members not vaccinated against COVID19 would be barred from federally funded drills and training required to maintain their National Guard status.

Stitt said although National Guard members are paid by the federal government, he remains their commander in chief under federal and state constitutional and statutory law, unless the president orders their mobilization.

Mancino argued while Stitt can't eliminate a federal requirement, he can "decide how, if and when it is enforced" in OK.

O'Connor said he’s vaccinated and doesn’t have a problem with it in general, but has an issue with the vaccine being mandated. He says mandating the vaccine is going to be a public healthcare crisis. He says the president doesn’t have the authority to mandate the vaccine.

Stitt said before becoming governor, he couldn’t imagine telling his employees they’d lose their job if they didn’t take the vaccine. He says one size fits all doesn’t work.

He said he understands having zero virus’ in the state is impossible and that we have to learn to live with it. He quoted former President Ronald Reagan, “we have the freedom with the ability to say no.”

O’Connor said they’ve joined with other states in several lawsuits against the Biden administration.

O’Connor added moving forward will be an uphill battle. Cases are moving quickly with other states.

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