Psaki scoffs at Ted Cruz for claiming vaccine mandates that caused delays in the southwest

Psaki scoffs at Ted Cruz for claiming vaccine mandates that caused delays in the southwest

“It doesn’t mean this isn’t hard and challenging — of course it is. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic,” she continued. “But ultimately, the job of the president of the United States is to lead, is to follow the advice of health experts, is to ensure that he is protecting the lives of people across the country.” Psaki began her reply by referencing Cruz’s comments: “Well I know world-renowned business, travel and health expert Sen. Ted Cruz has made that point. But I wouldn’t say that is widely acknowledged or echoed by business leaders who have implemented these mandates.” Psaki also directly mentioned the “hubub” over the weekend about Southwest Airlines, adding that “we now know that some of those claims were absolutely false, and actually the issues were completely unrelated to vaccine mandates.” 

That report quoted a Southwest spokesperson saying that the airline’s newly imposed vaccine mandate on its employees was not the cause of the flight cancellations. “It’s inaccurate,” the spokesperson told CNBC. “There’s a lot of unfounded rumor and speculation circulating.” Instead, the airline said severe weather problems and air traffic control issues are mainly to blame. “Joe Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate at work! Suddenly, we’re short on pilots & air traffic controllers. #ThanksJoe,” Cruz tweeted on Sunday in response to a news report that Southwest Airlines canceled over 1,800 flights.

Yet Fox News reporter Jacqui Heinrich brought up the GOP talking point during Tuesday’s press briefing, asking Psaki: “What’s the White House response to those who say vaccine mandates have reduced the workforce and contributed to this problem?” White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday dismissed recent GOP claims that vaccine requirements are negatively impacting companies, a notion that Republican Sen. Ted Cruz pushed over the weekend.

—Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 12, 2021   He went on to add that he spoke with a “credible and senior source in aviation” who said there was a “sick out” of air traffic controllers protesting vaccine mandates. 

Cruz later responded on Twitter to a video of Psaki’s comments, saying the White House was “launching snarky insults” at him. —The Hill (@thehill) October 12, 2021

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