Speaking during a presidential CNN town hall, moderator Anderson Cooper noted that as many as one in three emergency responders in some major cities are refusing to comply with city vaccine mandates.
“I’m wondering where you stand on that,” Cooper said. “Should police officers, first responders be mandated to get vaccines? And if not, should they be mandated to stay at home, let go?”
“Yes and yes,” Biden replied, going on to suggest that he implemented his controversial vaccine mandate only as a last resort.
In July, Biden announced businesses with more than 100 employees will be required to mandate coronavirus vaccines or administer weekly tests. Employers are also required to pay employees for time off to get vaccinated and recover from side effects.
“The mandates are working,” Biden further claimed, claiming even most airline employees have complied.
Biden went on to say that those who oppose vaccine mandates are attempting to make vaccines “a political issue.”
The president also scoffed at those who oppose vaccine mandates on the basis of “freedom.”
“I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID,” Biden said, mocking what he sees as the attitude of mandate opponents. “No, I mean, come on, freedom.”
As a presidential candidate, Biden opposed a vaccine mandate.
Nearly 70% of U.S. adults have received at least one, while more than 60% of all Americans have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Two dozen Republican attorneys general have threatened to sue the administration over the mandate, calling it “disastrous and counterproductive” in a joint letter on Sept. 16.
“From a policy perspective, this edict is unlikely to win hearts and minds – it will simply drive further skepticism,” the letter addressed to Biden said. “And at least some Americans will simply leave the job market instead of complying.”
Fox News’ Brie Stimson contributed to this report.