Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), a former U.S. Navy SEAL, has been tweeting Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin the same question about the military’s vaccine mandates every day for the past nine consecutive days.
On September 21, Crenshaw first tweeted, “Question for the SECDEF: are you really willing to allow a huge exodus of experienced service members just because they won’t take the vaccine? Honestly, Americans deserve to know how you plan on dealing with this blow to force readiness – it’s already causing serious problems.”
The following day, on September 22, Crenshaw tweeted, “When are you planning on responding @SecDef?”
On Thursday, Crenshaw again tweeted, “Why haven’t you responded yet @SecDef?”
The repetitive line of questioning comes in the weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave its full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Within days of the vaccine receiving FDA approval, President Joe Biden and Austin moved forward with mandating COVID-19 vaccines for the entire military.
Even before the vaccine mandate came down, Crenshaw and other lawmakers said large numbers of service members could leave the military if they are required to take the COVID-19 vaccines.
Since issuing the military-wide COVID-19 vaccine mandate, several service members have also come out in opposition to the rule.
Earlier this month, an Army officer submitted a resignation letter over the military’s vaccine mandate and what he called the “Marxist takeover of the military.”
Last week, an active-duty Navy commander appeared on Fox News to share his criticism of the vaccine mandate. That commander also wrote a letter arguing, “Further study is needed before committing the Total Force to one irreversible experimental group.”
Also last week, an Army flight surgeon responsible for certifying the flying fitness of 4,000 flight crew members at the 1st Aviation Brigade in Ft. Rucker, Alabama, authored an affidavit warning about the potentially deadly risks of myocarditis — a potential side effect of two of the COVID-19 vaccines. That Army medical doctor submitted her affidavit in support of a lawsuit brought by two other service members, arguing that service members who have survived prior infections from COVID-19 should not have to be vaccinated because they have obtained a degree of immunity through natural infection.
It remains to be seen what actions the military may take against service members who refuse the vaccine. A provision in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for 2022 would ensure by law that service members separated for refusing the vaccine would receive honorable discharges. Last week, the Biden White House came out in opposition to that provision and another provision that requires the military to establish a specific set of standards for the various administrative, religious or medical reasons under which a service member may refuse a vaccine, including if they have an antibody test result establishing that they have had a prior COVID-19 infection.