Constitutional scholar Jonathan Turley called White House chief of staff Ron Klain’s recent retweet appearing to praise the Biden administration for executing the “ultimate work-around” for President Biden’s recent vaccine mandate “breathtakingly daft.”
“The retweet was breathtakingly daft on the eve of litigation over the order. It is reminiscent of President Biden admitting that his own White House counsel and their preferred legal experts all said that the eviction moratorium extension was likely unconstitutional,” Turley told Fox News on Friday.
“Courts will now be asked to ignore the admission and uphold a self-admitted evasion of constitutional limits,” Turley added. The “problem is that the thing being ‘worked around’ is the Constitution.”
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Turley’s comment came in response to Klain retweeting MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle on Thursday, who tweeted: “OSHA doing this vaxx mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate work-around for the Federal govt to require vaccinations.”
“Klain effectively became a witness for the challengers in labeling the order an evasion or subterfuge designed for the courts. Klain leaves the courts in the unenviable position of ratifying an order that the Administration admits is a mere work around to evade constitutional limits. It is akin to claiming self-defense in an assault case while saying that it was the best way to shoot the guy,” Turley said.
Klain’s retweet came after President Biden announced a sweeping mandate requiring private employers with more than 100 employees to be vaccinated or submit to weekly testing. The mandate affects about 80 million Americans.
About 17 million workers at health facilities who receive federal Medicare or Medicaid will also be required to get vaccinated. The rules will be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
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“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” Biden said in remarks Thursday, adding that the unvaccinated, “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”
Klain sparked pushback from Republicans and other critics, including Sen. Ted Cruz, who called it “foolish,” and added, “He said the quiet part out loud. Biden admin knows it’s likely illegal (like the eviction moratorium) but they don’t.”
Both Cruz and Turley referred to the Supreme Court’s ruling last month that prohibited the Biden administration from continuing its temporary eviction moratorium stemming from the pandemic, ruling the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked the authority to reimpose the moratorium without Congress’s approval.
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Turley added in his comments to Fox News that “ironically” during the previous administration, former President Donald Trump was accused of undermining the Department of Justice “with ill-conceived and self-defeating public statements.”
“Ironically, Democratic groups long argued that such public comments from Trump or his staff should be treated as official statements. Courts regularly used Trump tweets in reviewing challenges in fields like immigration.”
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He added that Klain’s retweet “can be referenced by the courts as illustrative of the motive behind this obviously awkward avenue for a mandate. It is not determinative. However, it is relevant.”
Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and The Associated Press contributed to this report.