Trump administration official warns Army guardsmen that they could be on active duty for refusing vaccines

Secretary of the Army Mark Esper warned National Guard members recently that they may be facing “dire consequences” if they fail to comply with government recommendations that they vaccinate themselves and their families.

During a Sept. 20 speech at the Army Reserve Officers Association’s annual conference, Esper said Guard members who refuse vaccinations could be replaced with civilians and there might be the potential for being placed on active duty.

“If you — and you’re the right fit, my friend — if you have had a failed vaccine you will be subject to involuntary discharges,” Esper said, according to a recording of the speech obtained by The Intercept.

His remarks drew support from Michigan Rep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., who sent a letter to Esper on Monday, explaining that he and four other Republican congressmen are concerned about the lack of guidance from the federal government for those who might refuse vaccinations, according to The Washington Post. The letter said Esper’s remarks were indicative of the confusing guidance given to National Guard members throughout the country.

The Department of Defense’s largest military branch — the Army — didn’t respond to requests for comment on the remarks. A spokesman for Esper told CNN that Esper’s speech focused on steps the Army has taken to make vaccinations more convenient and accessible for National Guard troops, but that he was not responding to Bishop’s request for clarity.

Read the full story at The Intercept.


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