Former Trump Chief of Staff Meadows Will 'Fight Back' Against Biden's 'Unlawful Mandates'

Mark Meadows, the North Carolina representative who left Congress to become President Donald Trump's chief of staff, has vowed to fight the new federal vaccine mandates President Joe Biden announced Thursday.

"This overreach is just the latest example—one on a long list of evidence—that this administration will not hesitate to disregard the law in pursuit of their own agenda, even to the point of trampling workers and employers along the way," Meadows said in a statement.

Meadows is now a board member of conservative legal advocacy group America First Legal. AFL, which is led by former Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller, was founded after Trump left the White House and has set out to challenge several of Biden's actions he took office.

"Biden may suggest 'it's not about freedom or personal choice,' but he's absolutely wrong, and America First Legal will fight back, hold him accountable, and protect individual rights against these unlawful mandates," Meadows said.

Biden this week ordered federal employees and federal contractors to get a COVID-19 vaccine or risk disciplinary action. In addition, private businesses that employ more than 100 workers could face Occupational Safety and Health Administration violations if their workers are not vaccinated or tested weekly. Hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid funding also must require vaccinations to keep the federal funds flowing.

The edict has caused a backlash among conservatives, who have been more hesitant about vaccinations.

COVID-19 has killed more than 652,000 people in the United States. Currently, an average of 1,500 people are dying of the disease each day—a massive surge since the number dipped earlier in the summer. During a July 4 speech, Biden declared that the United States was "closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus."

"That's not to say the battle against COVID-19 is over," Biden added during the speech. "We've got a lot more work to do."

In recent weeks, Biden has often referred to the health crisis as a "pandemic of the unvaccinated" and given multiple public addresses encouraging people to get vaccinated. But his administration has repeatedly waved off suggestions that it would implement a broad vaccine mandate.

"That's not currently the role of the federal government," White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on July 7.

COVID vaccines have been free and available to everyone 12 or older since May.

More than 177 million people across the country are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and more than 75 percent of the adult population has gotten at least one shot, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But the Biden administration estimates that about 80 million eligible Americans have not received a single dose.

Meadows, who was Trump's chief of staff as the coronavirus began spreading across the country, made headlines last fall when he declared that "we're not going to control the pandemic."

"We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas," Meadows said on CNN on October 25. He went on to describe the novel virus as "a contagious virus just like the flu."

Meadows represented North Carolina's 11th District in the U.S. House from 2013 to March 2020, when he resigned to become Trump's fourth chief of staff as the pandemic began to surge.

Meadows challenges Biden's vaccine policies
Mark Meadows, former chief of staff in the Trump administration, has said he'll challenge President Joe Biden's new vaccination requirements. Above, Meadows, now a board member for the conservative America First Legal group, arrives for a Donald Trump campaign rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, on October 24, 2020. ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP/Getty Images