Chris Wallace tends to be the only Fox News personality who asks tough questions, but he usually ultimately lets them slide. He’ll grill them two or three times about a nonsense opinion they have, but ultimately they tend to duck the questions. But on Sunday he went a little further than usual. Wallace interviewed Ken Paxton, Attorney General of Texas, who believes the state can tell people what to do about vaccine mandates. And Wallace almost got him to admit that’s not a terribly Republican position.
Wallace and Paxton were discussing an executive order Governor Greg Abbott signed last month barring any “entity,” including private businesses, from requiring their employees get vaccinated. Abbott also attempted to get mask mandates banned in schools, though that one was blocked by a federal court. Paxton is in the process of suing the Biden administration over the national vaccine mandates, and he’s accused the president of “bullying businesses,” insisting they can “take care of their own workers.”
But to Wallace, barring mandates seemed to be “bullying businesses,” too. He asked Paxton how he can “justify the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, issuing an executive order that bans any business in Texas from issuing a vaccine mandate, and how do you justify the governor issuing a ban on all school districts on mask mandates?”
Paxton tried to avoid directly answering it, asserting that the move was “justified” and that he agrees with Abbott that mandates are unnecessary. But Wallace wasn’t having it.
“I just want to drill down on this a little bit,” Wallace replied. “You said that Texas companies should take care of their own workers. Is that consistent with the governor’s executive order and your enforcement of that order, which bans companies from taking care of their own workers as they see fit?”
Paxton tried to argue that Biden simply doesn’t have the authority to enforce a federal mandate. Again, Wallace didn’t let him off the hook.
“But you said that businesses should take care of their own workers and the governor is saying that they can’t see care of their workers as they see fit. They are prohibited from deciding, if they so choose, to issue a vaccine mandate,” Wallace said. “That’s not consistent.”
When Paxton claimed they simply didn’t have any pending lawsuits from businesses opposed to the mandate ban, Wallace kept on keeping on. “You are saying they should have the authority and the ability to decide what their workers should do and the governor’s executive order prohibits them from deciding what they want to do,” Wallace pointed out. “He bans vaccine mandates.”
He added, “Isn’t a mandate, by the federal government — are you saying there is a difference from a mandate to get a vaccine from the federal government is different in terms of the ability to take care of their own from a state mandate not to have vaccine mandates?”
Paxton called Wallace’s question “confusing,” then asserted that the “governor has a different authority under state law that the legislature has given him and he’s operating under that state law.”
That’s when Wallace shot back, “So he can tell private businesses what to do? That’s okay. So they can’t take care of their own?”
Paxton seemed to realize what he’d stepped into, so he simply declared that “states have more authority over these areas” than the federal government. Wallace allowed that, at least.
You can watch the tête-à-tête in the video above.
(Via The Daily Beast)