Texas AG Paxton: Gov. Abbott Has Right to Stop Vaccine Mandates Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. (andel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Sunday, 14 November 2021 10:21 AM
Texas Gov Greg Abbott has every right to issue a ban against companies in the state mandating COVID-19 vaccines for their employees, but President Joe Biden doesn't have the authority to issue national rules requiring the shots, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is suing the administration over the mandates, insisted Sunday.
"The governor has authority under state law to respond to these types of issues," Paxton told Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace. "He's done just that. Obviously, it is his view that these mask mandates are unnecessary and that vaccine requirements are also unnecessary. It's my job as the state's attorney general to go and defend what he has done and what the legislature has done. I'm perfectly comfortable doing that."
Wallace, after playing a video showing Paxton saying businesses should not listen to Biden but instead take care of their businesses, asked the attorney general how Abbott can ban businesses from issuing vaccine mandates for their companies' employees.
"The president does not have the authority to force companies," said Paxton. "We've gotten a stay in the Fifth Circuit to stop them from forcing companies to require workers from getting the vaccine or get fired. [They] don't have to listen to him because he's out there saying that you should do it anyway despite the fact that we have a stay from a higher court."
Paxton also insisted that there are "different types of requirements" at play and that companies also should weigh the effects that mandates could cause, considering the economy can't afford to lose vital employees, such as in transportation or healthcare.
The attorney general also discussed the government's legal action against Texas's controversial abortion law, saying his job isn't to make the laws but to defend them.
"This case, thus far, is not about the substance whether Roe v. Wade is going to be overturned," said Paxton. "It is whether the federal government and this other plaintiff have the standing to sue me, the attorney general, who has no authority right now, to implement any of this."
Paxton also said he applauds the legislature for "doing anything they can to protect human life."
When Wallace pressed Paxton on whether he thinks there should be exceptions in the law for cases of rape or incest, Paxton replied that he thinks it's "important to protect life" and that the Texas law is "defensible."
Meanwhile, the attorney general is the subject of an FBI investigation after officials from his office accused him of bribery, but on Sunday he said he's been "dealing with this kind of fight" for some time.
He is being challenged in the upcoming election by Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, a Republican who has raised questions about Paxton's "character and competence" in connection with the investigation.
"When you go out and do the type of things that I've done, you're going to be challenged," said Paxton. "[I'm going to] make sure I am defending the state and defending the governor and the legislature. I'm going to continue to do that job."