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People Are Saying Biden Is the Authoritarian Trump Was Supposed to Be

President Joe Biden’s announcement Thursday of a sweeping COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which covers more than 80 million American workers and is aimed at combatting the Delta variant, spurred outrage from critics who accused the White House of government overreach.

SO WHAT

While liberals and the establishment press used words like “fascist” and “dictator” to describe former President Donald Trump, Biden’s new plan is arguably more authoritarian than any policy enacted by his predecessor.

WHAT BIDEN SAID

Sharply criticizing the roughly 80 million Americans who are still unvaccinated, Biden said the Department of Labor would be developing an emergency order, which would require a vaccine-or-test mandate for all businesses with more than 100 employees.

Money quote: “So here’s where we stand: The path ahead, even with the Delta variant, is not nearly as bad as last winter,” Biden said during an address from the White House. “But what makes it incredibly more frustrating is that we have the tools to combat COVID-19, and a distinct minority of Americans –supported by a distinct minority of elected officials — are keeping us from turning the corner.  These pandemic politics, as I refer to, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die.”

THE PLAN

THE REACTION

Republican politiciansconservative news outlets and outraged social media commenters vowed to defy Biden’s mandate — with many accusing him of acting like the kind of authoritarian Trump was imagined to be by his critics.

  • “Still have no clue what’s authoritarian about Trump when lined up against Biden. Trump barked at critics. That’s all,” tweeted Yossi Gestestner, a director at the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.
  • The Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles quipped: “Good thing Trump isn’t president. He was authoritarian.”

Among some right-wing commentators and skeptics of liberalism, there was even a hint of begrudging admiration for Biden’s willingness to wield the powers of office and expressions of disappointment that Trump hadn’t done the same.

  • “Biden is willing to use power in a way that Trump should have throughout his administration, because that is how you advance an agenda and a vision for the nation,” tweeted Pedro Gonzalez, an editor at Chronicles Magazine. “There is no check on power except power. The timid GOP-conservative approach will always lose.”
  • “Agree with him or disagree with him Biden is doing more to govern than Obama or Trump did over the same time period. He chooses to use his power. I wonder if the next Republican will do similarly,” tweeted journalist Zaid Jilani.

LOOKING AHEAD

Asked by a reporter on Friday to respond to Republicans who have threatened to file lawsuits over the White House’s new vaccination policies, Biden said: “Have at it.”

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