Texas Gov. Abbott to sue Biden administration over National Guard vaccine mandate

"Win or lose, President Biden must be held accountable," Abbott wrote.

Updated: January 4, 2022 - 4:30pm

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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he plans on suing the Biden administration over what he views as the "unconstitutional vaccine mandate" for members of the Texas National Guard.

The Republican governor announced the lawsuit in a letter instructing Texas Military Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris to "not punish any guardsman for not choosing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine."

Abbott has actively resisted vaccine mandates since August when he issued an executive order against mandates for all workers. Abbott wrote that he feels President Joe Biden has "muddied the waters" by issuing a Department of Defense vaccine mandate, so he wanted to "clear up any confusion."

Unless Biden federalizes the Lone Star State's national guard, Abbott says he is Norris' commander-in-chief and "will not tolerate" vaccine mandates. The federal government has threatened to cut off funding, including guardsmens' retirement benefits, in response. 

"Win or lose, President Biden must be held accountable for his unconscionable willingness to hollow out the Texas National Guard. Please know that I am grateful for your service and will continue fighting on your behalf," Abbott concluded.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin last month, Abbott stated: "The State of Texas will not enforce this latest COVID-19 vaccine mandate against its guardsmen. If the federal government keeps threatening to defund the Texas National Guard, I will deploy every legal tool available to me as Governor in defense of these American heroes."

Five other governors joined Abbott last week in defiance of the mandates.