Trevor Noah on Biden’s vaccination mandates: ‘He’s not messing around’

Trevor Noah unveiled a new, restyled Daily Show studio on Monday evening – his first show after a month-long hiatus and first return to the studio since March 2020. The in-studio Daily Show has returned, but vaccination rates in America are still limping along – just 63% of the population 12 and older is fully vaccinated, “and it seems like President Biden is done waiting”, said Noah.

Last week, Biden revealed sweeping vaccination mandates for government workers and contractors, and announced all businesses with more than 100 employees must require vaccinations or weekly testing for their workers; failure to comply will result in fines of $14,000 per violation. “My message to unvaccinated Americans is this: what more is there to wait for?” Biden said. “What more do you need to see? We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us.”

“Say what you want about Biden, he’s not messing around,” said Noah. “And if you ask me, it’s actually smart of Biden to do this mandate through people’s employers. It’s not the government coming for you, it’s your employer. Because Americans are already used to their employer having a ton of power over their lives.

“I mean, think about it: your employer can tell you what to wear, what time you’ve got to be there, when you can leave,” he added. “I mean, they can even put up a sign on the bathroom door that says ‘do not use,’ and then you just gotta not poop. That’s power.”

Republicans have denounced the plan, and 19 GOP governors have vowed to defy the measure in their states; Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina promised to “fight them to the gates of hell”.

“Normally, that statement is hyperbole, but with Covid you might actually get the chance,” Noah quipped.

The outrage shouldn’t come as a surprise, said Noah as “any mandate, no matter how much it seems like common sense to some people, is gonna make other people really mad. And it’s not just the vaccine,” he added, pointing to fury over seatbelt requirements in the 1980s.

“Mandates by their nature build resistance,” he concluded. “And if Biden’s gonna be doing that, I hope he is ready for what’s going to happen, because mandates turn ‘I don’t knows’ into ‘fuck you’s.”

Biden’s new Covid vaccine mandates have “enraged the lunatic fringe of anti-vaxxers otherwise known as Republican governors”, said Stephen Colbert on Monday evening. Some have even threatened to sue, prompting Biden to respond on Friday: “Have at it.”

Colbert broke out his Biden impression: “I went to Scranton School Bus-top Tussling, once gave a man a little elbow music for looking cross-eyed at my Buster Browns. You got a problem with that mandate you can stop by and meet my pals Empathy and Public Service.”

In other news, it remains to be seen whether California will recall its Democratic governor, Gavin Newsom, pending a referendum on the complex election with 46 opposing candidates. Newsom’s opposition includes businessman John Cox, who has been holding campaign events with a live bear. “All that tells me is that John Cox is so bland even a bear won’t eat him,” said Colbert.

Another candidate is Patrick Kilpatrick, an actor who has appeared in such films as Under Siege 2, Free Willy 3, Angel 4 and the TV show Babylon 5. “And if you add all those numbers up, it’s more than the votes Patrick Kilpatrick will get,” said Colbert.

According to polls, 60% of California voters oppose the recall – “the other 40% said ‘I am running for governor,’” Colbert joked.

And on Late Night, Seth Meyers also tore into GOP opposition to Biden’s new Covid safety plan, from the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis, to Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina, who vowed to fight the administration’s vaccination mandates “to the gates of hell”.

“Take it easy, Henry, you’re not even going to fight somebody to the gates of your community,” Meyers retorted. “And I’m sorry, you’ll ‘fight them to the gates of hell?’ It’s a requirement to get vaccinated against a deadly respiratory virus and you sound like you’re writing a screenplay for a direct-to-VHS Steven Seagal movie called Strike Force One.

“But that’s what these people do!” Meyers continued on Republican blowback. “It’s all performance and manufactured outrage designed to gin up their base. They don’t seem to care about the toll of the virus itself and the immense loss and grief it’s wrought. They just care about mimicking Trump to pander to their voters.

“These guys are acting like mandates are tyranny when in reality, mandates exist everywhere, and we have to do all kinds of much more annoying things every day to live a in functional society with other people,” he added. “I mean, you think anyone likes waiting in line at the DMV in order to commute to work? No one likes that, but we do it.

“I can’t believe I still have to say this after 18 months, but you can spread Covid to other people,” he said. “It’s not just about yourself.”

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