Texas Governor Greg Abbott has sent a letter announcing that he will sue the federal government over what he calls its ‘unconstitutional’ vaccine mandate for the Texas National Guard.
In the letter, Abbott cautioned everyone in his chain of command not to punish any member of the Guard for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Tuesday, Abbott’s office confirmed that he sent a letter to Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris with the Texas Military Department and announced his intention to sue while reaffirming his position that members of the Texas Army National Guard and Texas Air National Guard are not to be punished for choosing not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
The governor said in his letter that he is the commander-in-chief of the Texas militia, not the president, and as such he “will not tolerate efforts to compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine.”
“Unless President Biden federalizes the Texas National Guard in accordance with Title 10 of the U.S. Code, he is not your commander-in-chief under our federal or state Constitutions,” Abbott wrote.
In November 2021, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin laid out the consequences for service members who refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, including members of the National Guard. An NBC News report said Austin’s memo indicated they would face loss of pay and be marked absent without cause from drills and training.
On Monday, a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction stopping the US Navy from acting against 35 sailors for refusing on religious grounds to comply with an order to get vaccinated against COVID-19.