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Newspaper Editorial Board Calls on Governor to Deploy Natl. Guard Against Unvaxxed Citizens

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The editorial board of a prominent Utah newspaper has called on the state’s governor to deploy National Guard forces to prevent unvaccinated citizens from leaving their homes or otherwise participating in society.

In a piece headlined, “Utah leaders have surrendered to COVID pandemic, the Editorial Board writes” the board cites the state’s elected officials for refusing to mandate that all citizens get a COVID-19 vaccine, adding that if Utah were a “civilized place,” GOP Gov. Spencer Cox would implement a mandate and order the National Guard to enforce it by preventing the unvaccinated from going “anywhere.”

“Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere,” the editorial board wrote.

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Though the editors spread the blame around, they were more critical of Republicans like Cox.

“Government officials, mostly but not exclusively Republicans, were apparently determined not to be caught governing in the face of this challenge. Any move or recommendation to mask up or, when safe and effective vaccines became available, to make vaccination a requirement of admission to public places and society in general was shouted down as an unwarranted imposition on individual freedoms,” the editorial said.

“Cox and so many others have not carried the courage of their convictions. Cox, state legislative leaders, our congressional delegation and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes have so proudly stood against the kind of vaccine mandates that civilized society has used for generations to effectively wipe out everything from polio to diphtheria to the measles,” the editorial continued.

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Unsurprisingly, the board’s criticism of President Joe Biden was mild in comparison; the piece hailed the president for attempting to implement a nationwide vaccine mandate, though editors did take him to task for taking too much time to make tests and N-95 masks more widely available.

“President Joe Biden tried to pull a couple of useful levers by ordering vaccine mandates for health care workers and vaccine-or-test rules for workplaces of more than 100 employees. The U.S. Supreme Court this week upheld the former while quashing the latter, foolishly holding that a communicable disease is not a workplace hazard,” the board wrote.

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“Not that Biden is blameless in all this. Seeing the obvious reluctance of so many people to get, or to require, vaccinations has only now moved him to push to make tests and the most effective kind of masks available to everyone. It’s the right thing to do, but months late,” the editorial added.

Critics took to social media to blast the editorial board, in particular the paper’s demand that Cox use the National Guard to implement what would essentially be house arrest without a trial or conviction.

“The Salt Lake City newspaper wants the Utah national guard to not allow unvaccinated people to leave their homes. This is mindless, anti-science insanity — omicron is infecting everyone — but these ‘journalists’ are demanding totalitarianism. And they think they’re the good guys,” Outkick’s Clay Travis tweeted.

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Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson (R) added: “The truth is Omicron is out of control everywhere. Even in places with mask and vaccine mandates. We always push vaccines, but even vaccinated ppl [sic] are catching it. It’s easy to take shots from the cheap seats but this is the sort of nonsense that makes editorial boards irrelevant.”

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GOP communications operative Matt Whitlock wrote: Use the national guard to prevent unvaccinated from going anywhere?! That would be more draconian than any state in the country – how do they think things are going in Australia? The Trib editorial board is absolute garbage.”

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