Larry Elder Vows to Repeal California Vaccine and Mask Mandates, Rally Crowd Goes Wild

Larry Elder, the Republican leading the race to replace California's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, claimed he would repeal all vaccine and mask mandates at a rally on Sunday, prompting the mostly unmasked crowd to go wild.

Elder, the talk radio host vying to become California's first Black governor, addressed an audience of about 750 in Fresno's Paul Shaghoian Performing Arts Center, The Fresno Bee reported.

He spent the rally touching on various talking points, including homelessness, policing and COVID-19.

And despite the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus driving a surge of cases in California and the rest of the country, Elder declared that as governor, he would immediately repeal vaccine and mask mandates in the nation's most populous state.

"I don't drink coffee, I drink tea, and when I become governor, assuming there are still mandates for vaccines and mandates for face masks, they will be repealed before I have my first cup of tea," he said, prompting a standing ovation.

The 69-year-old Elder went on to tell the crowd that he has been vaccinated.

"I have been vaccinated. I am almost 70," he said, according to the Bee. "I am in a high risk category. I have a rare blood disease. My doctor strongly advised me to get vaccinated. But a lot of people feel very differently. Isn't this America?"

Elder did not address any of the issues that could harm his campaign during Sunday's rally, including a history of sexist comments and claims he mistreated his former fiancée Alexandra Datig.

Last week, Politico reported that Datig ended an 18-month engagement with Elder after he allegedly waved a gun at her during a heated argument while high on marijuana.

Elder responded in a tweet, writing: "I have never brandished a gun at anyone. I grew up in South Central; I know exactly how destructive this type of behavior is. It's not me, and everyone who knows me knows it's not me. These are salacious allegations."

He added: "People do not get into public life precisely because of this type of politics of personal destruction. I am not going to dignify this with a response—it's beneath me."

People do not get into public life precisely because of this type of politics of personal destruction. I am not going to dignify this with a response—it’s beneath me. (2/3)

— Larry Elder (@larryelder) August 19, 2021

But Orrin Heatlie, the head of the recall campaign, tweeted that Politico's reporting was "credible and the information is substantiated." Heatlie added: "Make an informed decision."

Other Republican candidates have called for Elder to drop out ahead of the September 14 election.

"DROP OUT NOW," Caitlyn Jenner tweeted Friday. "You are not what CA wants let alone what we need. I am the proud father of very powerful, intelligent, successful women."

Former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Elder was unfit to serve as governor.

"Elder's backwards positions harm women's rights and the livelihoods of California families," Faulconer said. "Elder's lack of judgment and character flaws threaten the success and credibility of this historic recall movement."

Elder's campaign has been contacted for additional comment.

Larry Elder
Larry Elder attends the "Death Of A Nation" premiere at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on July 31, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. Greg Doherty/Getty Images