House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy tries to change the subject when pressed on Covid vaccine messaging

GOP leader McCarthy on Covid mandates: I would allow the individuals to have all the information
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy tried to change the subject to taxes Tuesday after facing tough questions about his stance on the Biden administration’s new Covid vaccine mandates.

“We can talk tax, too, if you wanted,” McCarthy told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday after a lengthy grilling in which he denied sending mixed messages about vaccinations.

McCarthy, R-Calif., said that he supports the vaccines in general, but rejects the White House’s latest push, which involves making some employers require their workers to get vaccinated or face weekly testing.

Over the weekend, he tweeted in all caps: “NO VACCINE MANDATES.”

On Tuesday morning, McCarthy argued that a “punishment method” of approaching vaccination “will create more doubt.”

But McCarthy struggled to articulate an alternative to Biden’s vaccine mandate, save for his dubious claim that incentives are more effective than mandates.

The Biden administration in recent months have already promoted incentives to coax more people toward inoculation. For instance, President Joe Biden in July called on states to offer $100 cash payments as a vaccination incentive. State leaders and businesses have also tried offering other perks, such as free beer, for those who get the shot. The vaccines themselves are free and are “stunningly effective.”

But as of Tuesday morning, just 65% of U.S. adults were fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Vaccination rates are starkly divided along political lines, with polls showing Republicans significantly less likely than Democrats to say they have been vaccinated.

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