President Joe Biden issued a COVID-19 mandate for vaccines that will be used to protect approximately 80 million American workers.
Biden has ordered all businesses and organizations employing 100 or more people to get vaccinated.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. says he is outraged about what he sees as a massive government excess.
Vaccine mandates “are freedom-robbing,” Johnson says. “They’re unbelievably coercive.”
“I’ve always thought that nobody should be pressured, coerced, or fear reprisal for refusing any medical treatment, including the COVID vaccine,” Johnson adds. “But we’ve just turned our society, our laws, our ethics on their head during this pandemic. It’s time for Americans to reclaim their freedom.”
Johnson joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to discuss what he and congressional colleagues plan to do about Biden’s largest vaccine mandate, as well as to share some stories of Americans who have been affected by side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines.
These stories are also covered:
- The Biden administration officially announces its COVID-19 mandate for many private employers.
- Sen. Rand Paul, R.Ky., and Dr. Anthony Fauci get into another heated argument during a Senate committee hearing.
- Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler calls for over $5 million in additional police department funding nearly a year after Oregon’s largest city cut its police budget in response to protests and riots.
Listen to the podcast or read the lightly edited transcript.
Doug Blair: Senator Ron Johnson is our guest today, a Republican who is the senior Wisconsin senator. Thank you, Senator, for joining us today.
Sen. Ron Johnson:Glad to be here.
Blair: Senator, let’s talk about vaccine mandates. Today, the Biden administration declared that it would pursue a federal COVID mandate through OSHA. This mandate requires companies with 100 or more employees to get vaccinated. What do you think about that mandate?
Johnson: I’m utterly opposed. They are pointless.
On Tuesday, I held an event about vaccine injuries and mandates. One of my presenters had a very simple decision-tree. The top box said, “Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective?” If you follow the “yes” line down to the second box, well, then they’re pointless, right? The vaccines work. What does it matter to you if someone else is vaccinated. If you follow the “no” line down to the exact same box, it’s also true. And unfortunately, it’s the “no” line that is operative right now.
The science shows that even fully vaccinated people can become infected. They can transmit the virus, can get seriously ill, and can even die. So that’s the science. That’s the reality.
So what’s the point of the mandate? Particularly in light of the fact when you understand how destructive they are going to be to people’s lives, forcing people into gut-wrenching, life-altering decisions between a livelihood, taking care of their family, and putting an experimental vaccine in their arm that we do not know the long-term safety profile. We do not. You should not believe anyone who claims they know that these items are completely safe. Nobody knows that because we haven’t had the time.
They are pointless. They are freedom-robbing. They’re unbelievably coercive. I’ve always thought that nobody should be pressured, coerced, or fear reprisal for refusing any medical treatment, including the COVID vaccine, but we’ve just turned our society, our laws, our ethics on their head during this pandemic. It’s time for Americans to reclaim their freedom.
Blair: One of the things that you’ve pursued now, Fox News is reporting that you, along with 41 other Republican senators, are planning to “disapprove and nullify President [Joe] Biden’s vaccine mandate on private employees using the Congressional Review Act.” To break that down for our listeners, what exactly does that mean, and will this stop the mandate from taking effect?
Johnson: Well, it’s a tool we can use, Congressional Review Act, where we can overturn a regulation by an executive branch. But with as lockstep as the Democrats have been with the Biden administration, no matter how economically destructive or politically destructive, I’m not holding my breath that we’re going to get Democratic colleagues to join us in that.
Blair: So you don’t believe that this will be a bipartisan effort?
Johnson: I can hope and pray, but I’m not holding my breath.
Blair: OK. Is this mandate legal? Is this the problem, that it’s through OSHA, or is there a bigger issue here?
Johnson: We don’t believe so. We don’t think OSHA has the authority to do this, but that’s not going to stop this administration, just like when they plowed forward with their eviction moratorium. It was fine when they realized that the Supreme Court had ruled it illegal. It was their political strategy. The courts will not be able to decide on the constitutionality or inconstitutionality of this mandate.
Blair: Blair, one of the other things you have announced is the Keeping Our COVID-19 Heroes Embedded Act. This bill, which you and a few other Republican senators are attempting to exempt essential workers form federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates, is also important. What are you trying to accomplish with this bill and why did you bring it up?
Johnson: Well, first of all, I’m co-sponsoring just about every bill that’s pushing back against these mandates, making sure that the finest among us, our military members, aren’t dishonorably discharged, trying with this bill to keep in place the essential workers.
And I’ve been meeting with doctors and nurses, the heroes of COVID, the people that had the courage and compassion to treat patients, may even [have gotten]They are naturally immune to the infection. Some died. Most survived. And now many of them are seeing and they’re treating vaccine injuries.
I can attest to the fact there’s a large group of nurses and doctors and other health care workers that will not knuckle under and get this COVID vaccine, and we will lose decades of experience in nursing and health care. It’s irreplaceable.
I just heard this morning of one institution, I think it was a smaller hospital, they don’t have any permanently employed nurses anymore. It’s all traveling nurses. I’ve heard from nurses, on a daily basis, they get a text, “Quit your job. Consider becoming a traveling nurse. Two, three, four times your salary.”
Now, again, these are skilled professionals, but not necessarily for the slots that they’re filling. It takes decades to get the skill level in some of these specialties, and we’re going to throw that all away on an unconstitutional and pointless mandate? This is madness. It is insane what we’re doing, but President Biden, he seems willing to plow forward, throw all caution to the wind.
Blair: We’ve seen some of the negative effects of vaccine mandates in New York City. It has a citywide mandate. I believe they’ve had to reduce their capacity for firefighters about 20% and their ambulance services about 20%. If the federal vaccine mandate continues, do you think that they will be able to extend their capacity for firefighters and ambulance services?
Johnson: Yes, we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg here. We’ve had some demonstrations of what’s going to happen with a pilot slowdown or air traffic control. It can disrupt airline travel. It can also cause disruption in transportation. It can also affect the health care industry.
We have a severe shortage of health care workers right now. I’ve been talking to nurses in the roundtables. Some of them are claiming that people are needlessly dying in emergency rooms because we’re understaffed now. Imagine what happens if we lose a portion of these doctors and nurses with decades of experience.
Blair: One of the points you made at the top was that your event was focused on people with vaccine-related injuries and illnesses. Could you tell us a bit about what was discussed at that roundtable
Johnson: Well, first of all, we just let these people tell their stories, and they’re gut-wrenching, they’re heartbreaking stories. And what’s even more heartbreaking is they’re completely being ignored. They are not being recognized. They’re being cast aside.
Two of the individuals actually participated in the trial, one in the AstraZeneca and little Maddie de Garay, she was 12, now she’s 13. She’s in a wheelchair now. She uses a feeding tube. She can’t eat. They’re cast aside. She was part the Pfizer trial for children younger than her. These are devastating their lives, and our health care agencies won’t acknowledge these people. So that’s the first thing. It’s just the inhumanity of that.
But we’re also just completely ignoring this from a standpoint of public policy as well. I’ve got to quote some figures here because I hear all the time, it’s like fingers on a chalkboard to me when I hear that vaccine injuries are rare and mild. Well, they’re rare and mild until they happen to you or your loved one.
Here are the statistics for seasonal flu annually on average. This is 26 years of experience. We have 7,551 adverse events per year on the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System). Far from perfect, but that’s the safety signal.
There are an average of 78 deaths per year due to the seasonal flu vaccine. COVID has a 10-month average of 837,000 deaths. That’s 110 times the rate of adverse events reported. 17619 people died. That’s versus 78 for flu—17,619, that’s 225 times more deaths reported in the VAERS system associated with the COVID vaccine.
Now, VAERS has two major criticisms. That is something I can accept. However, it dramatically understates how many adverse events there are. However, more than 5,500 of those deaths were caused by vaccinations. It’s certainly something we should be concerned about. It’s certainly something we should investigate. It’s certainly something we should acknowledge. But we’re not, and you have to ask yourself the question: Why?
As long as I’m quoting stats, let’s take a look at what the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]The [Food and Drug Administration]They have denigrated and sabotaged early treatment.
And by the way, there’s literally a cornucopia of drugs for therapy. I’m talking to health care, they’re using … Corticosteroids, budesonide, but also hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin.
Ivermectin, a Nobel Prize-winning medication, has been administered in safe doses to billions of people. This is how safe it is: In almost 26 years, there have been an average of 15 deaths associated with ivermectin. 64 deaths per year with hydroxychloroquine over 26 years. Again, 17619.
By the way, remdesivir was just kind of rushed to an authorization for emergency usage, 1,499 in the little more than a year that remdesivir has been out there.
What is the matter? Why have we taken away the off-label prescription rights of doctors who practice medicine? Why are we threatening doctors’ medical licenses, even if they have the courage to give these things a try? Why are we taking away Americans’ freedom to try these things?
It’s very difficult to get either ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine. You check yourself into the vast majority of hospitals, there’s no way you can get these drugs. You are placed on a ventilator. They just watch you die in far too many cases.
This is a travesty, what’s happening in our health care system as a result of this pandemic. The pandemic has exposed many problems in our health system, including corruption in the health care agencies and the capture of big pharmaceutical companies.
And I’ve always been a defender of Big Pharma. Do I want a new lifesaving drug or am I the only one? But we have so tilted the playing field in favor of the Big Pharma companies who can afford the random controlled trials, and that’s what CDC relies on.
They don’t look at observational studies. They don’t allow doctors to practice medicine, and the hospitals won’t because they’re not going to do anything different than what the CDC allows them to do because they don’t get the grant money then, they open themselves up to potential liability.
We now follow the CDC’s protocols, and independent doctors have a hard time using their off label prescription rights. And patients, we’re just caught in between and we’ve lost our freedom.
Blair: Let me briefly touch on something we were discussing before the show. The stories of people who received vaccines and had adverse reactions were very heartbreaking. However, we were focusing on one at the start of the show. Would you be willing to share some of the stories you heard at this event, and how it affected you?
Johnson:Ernest was a single father, but his son was his best friend. They never lived apart. It was enough to see how much they loved and cared for each other. He lost his 16 year-old son to the vaccine.
Brie Dressen was a young mother who was part in the AstraZeneca trial. She became paralyzed down to the waist. She lost control over her bladder. She said [she]She lost her dignity. Although she can now walk, she still experiences inner tremors. She’s maybe 60% recovered.
Maddie de Garay, 12-year-old, now 13-year-old young girl, who is now confined to a wheelchair, can’t eat. She requires a feeding tube. She was a participant in the Pfizer trial.
They are all being put aside. Doug shared his story. Their livelihood is gone.
Dr. Joel Wallskog, an orthopedic surgeon, is unable to perform surgery. His career as an orthopaedic surgeon is over. He writes to the CDC, contacts them, they said, “Well, it wasn’t serious enough. You were never hospitalized.” They’re just blowing him off.
He is shocked by the lack of acknowledgement, the lack of our health agencies paying attention, taking these people seriously, and of course, the fact that they’re not being transparent to the American public. They continue to this day, say, “Oh, these things are perfectly safe, perfectly effective.” They’re not. I’m sorry to report, they’re not.
Data must be sourced from England. And here’s the data on effectiveness of vaccines right now: For the last seven and a half months out the U.K., this is their public data, 80% of their COVID cases has been delta variant. 63% of the people who died were fully vaccinated. In the last four weeks in the U.K., 78% of those who’ve died with a delta variant have been fully vaxxed.
So unlike President Biden who promised us, “If you get this vaccine, you’re not going to get seriously ill, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to die, you’re not going to catch COVID,” that’s an outright lie that he has never corrected.
This is not a pandemic for the unvaccinated. What it is, it’s a pandemic that we have refused to treat early. … This is a serious disease. I don’t downplay it at all, but the fact that we haven’t robustly explored early treatment, that we haven’t used this cornucopia of repurposed, cheap, generic drugs is a travesty.
Now, listen, I hope Merck’s new drug, molnupiravir, I hope it works, but it’s $700 a treatment, and it’s 20 months too late.
Blair: One of the questions that I’m asking myself as I’m hearing these stories—because there are clearly side effects related to these vaccines that we don’t quite understand yet. This is not to say that the vaccine isn’t a problem. But we need to talk about these problems. Why do you think we’re not able to discuss these side effects?
Johnson:The COVID gods have chosen a single approach to ending the pandemic. They will never admit they were wrong, not the COVID gods, not the mainstream media, not the social media, because if they admit they were wrong, for example, on early treatment, if it’s ever proven, the way they have to prove it—I think it’s pretty well proven because I’ve talked to the doctors, I talk to the patients that have used and recovered from COVID with ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.
But if they ever admit or are proven wrong, they’re going to have to admit that tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people needlessly died. So they just happen to have the power to make sure they’re never proven wrong.
So right now I think they are recognizing that they’ve been wrong in early treatment, which is why they’re all rushing to approve the molnupiravir. It’s a good idea, and I hope it works. I’d rather pay $700 to save a life, but I hope that they will still allow doctors and people that can’t afford it—for example, around the world, people can’t afford 700 bucks, but they can afford ivermectin.
These countries are, by the way, [people] have used it, there’s some pretty strong anecdotal evidence that it works, but we’ve ignored all of that.
Again, there’s so much I can’t explain in our response to COVID, but I can tell you it’s been a miserable failure—750,000 Americans dead either from or with COVID. This policy response has not worked. I don’t know why anybody would continue to listen to the Faucis of the world. I don’t know why they would.
Blair: I find it fascinating that Americans treat natural immunity differently from vaccinated immunity. It seems that a lot of countries around the globe accept that natural immunity from a prior COVID is possible and that recovery can be as good or better than a vaccine. Why do you think that America is different than other countries where we don’t treat natural immunity the same?
Johnson:Again, the COVID gods want to see a vaccine in every limb. They’ll throw caution to the wind. They deny all reality, and natural immunity is one.
By the way, again, I’m not a doctor and not a medical researcher, but I talked to enough of them who explained these things to me, makes perfect sense. The natural immunity is strong. It’s robust. It’s not universally so, but why would we automatically assume that it’s not worth anything?
Now, … [an] Israeli study showed, once it’s adjusted for comorbidities, 27 times more effective than vaccinated immunity. It makes sense because your natural immunity recognizes all the antigens. The vaccine only recognized spike protein and protects against that. If the spike protein changes, it’s not very effective. Is that what’s happening to delta?
The analogy I’ve heard is your natural immunity recognizes your entire face. Only your nose is recognized by the vaccine. So if you get a nose job, vaccine’s not going to recognize you, but your natural immunity will.
Blair: That’s an interesting analogy. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that before. Another thing that I’ve been noticing as we go on through this sort of post-pandemic or sort of ending-pandemic mentality is there is a stark difference in how unvaccinated people or, as I think you mentioned in the event, nonimmune people versus immune people are being treated in society at large. How do you see this difference in treatment now?
Johnson:It is yet again a tragedy. When I heard that a kidney transplant recipient and her donor were denied the transplant—it wasn’t like they were unhealthy, it wasn’t like they were infected with COVID, the surgeons, the hospital simply would not perform the surgery. What happened with the Hippocratic Oath. This is a terrible travesty.
When I’ve heard of the families whose loved one gets so sick they have to check them into a hospital, and sometimes they’ll bring some of these repurposed drugs to the hospital, we won’t. They’ll take them to court. I’ve heard stories where the hospital’s been taken to court. They administer ivermectin, somebody’s gotten off the ventilator, they stop issuing ivermectin, they get sick, get put back on the ventilator.
The loss of freedom, to me, has just been eye-opening in terms of what hospitals are doing and won’t do and how they will just refuse family involvement or somebody’s own health directive. “You’re in our hospital. You’re going to treat this illness the way we’re going to treat it. We don’t need any of your advice and we’re not going to take any of your directives.” This has been a travesty.
Blair: Senator, as we wrap up here, I’d like to get some insight. What legislative plan is there to fight this vaccine mandate and pull America out from this pandemic? What is the plan
Johnson: Well, the way I’m approaching it is with information, because our health care agencies have not been honest. They have not been transparent. So I’m trying to provide the transparent information.
But you’ve seen what happens to me. I hold this event on Tuesday, and I’ve got doctors in Wisconsin saying that I’m spreading conspiracy theories. I’m letting people tell their true stories. These are the issues that medical experts are discussing. So those of us who are providing that information are getting attacked, we’re being censored.
Dr. Pierre Kory, 8,000,000 views of his testimony about ivermectin, December 2020. It was pulled from YouTube and censored. I do radio interviews. The radio talk-show host gets censored and is suspended for speaking to me. So this level of cancel culture, I don’t know how many lives it’s cost, but it’s very destructive.
So what we’re trying to do is just provide information. We’ll continue to introduce bills, hopefully put public pressure, maybe get some Democrats on board, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. They’re in lockstep with this administration, again, no matter how economically or politically destructive it is. So I’m not holding my breath that we’re going to be able to do anything legislatively.
The courts have been supportive of mandates in a private sector. I understand that. You’re a private employer, you can set the terms and conditions of your employment. But in terms of ruling on the unconstitutionality of OSHA’s rule, that’ll take months, maybe years, to be fully decided. It’ll be too late. It will be over soon.
Blair: That was Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican, who is the senior senator from Wisconsin. Senator, I appreciate your time today.
Johnson:Thank you for having me.
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