White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dodged answering a question during Tuesday’s press briefing on the matter of President Joe Biden praising a group of Coast Guard rescue swimmers that included a guardsman who could face termination because he has not received a COVID vaccine.
Biden personally thanked a Coast Guardsman for saving a 94-year-old woman in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, but the hero expects to be fired within days for rejecting the COVID vaccine, The Daily Wire reported. Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Zach Loesch earned praise in a Friday phone call from the commander in chief for kicking in a wall to save a trapped, wheelchair-bound woman and her husband.
“I told him how proud of him I was and thanked him for all the work he and his Coasties are doing to save lives,” Biden said in a press release that thanked Loesch and Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hooper “for the heroic work that they and their Coast Guard colleagues have performed during search and rescue operations in response to Hurricane Ian.”
But the next time Loesch hears from a federal official, it could be to learn his career is over. Loesch said in an interview that he had applied for a religious exemption to avoid taking the COVID vaccine but does not expect it to be honored.
Jean-Pierre was asked about the matter during Tuesday’s press briefing.
“The president recently praised a group of Coast Guard rescue swimmers. One of them reportedly faces termination because he isn’t vaccinated,” a reporter said. “I’m curious, given the threats that we’re facing abroad, would the president ever reconsider that vaccination requirement or consider issuing more exemptions?”
“So, as you — as — as you can imagine, the president has the most — the deepest respect for the U.S. Coast Guard,” Jean-Pierre claimed. “That is something that you would hear from him directly. And the country — the president and the country are grateful for all of the U.S. Coast Guard heroes that have led the effort to save lives in Florida. We have seen that with our very own eyes these past couple of days.”
“I would refer you specifically to the U.S. Coast Guard on this — on this issue, on this individual questions. It’s not something that I would comment from here,” she continued. “But, you know, there, of course, have been multiple vaccination requirements, as you know, in place for quite some time. And — but, again, I’m not going to comment here — from here on an individual case.”
.@PhilipWegmann: Biden "recently praised a group of Coast Guard rescue swimmers, one of them reportedly faces termination b/c he's not vaccinated…Given the threats that we're facing…would [he] ever reconsider…or…issu[e] more exemptions?"
KJP ducks, passes to Coast Guard pic.twitter.com/Mmy7GP8RgM
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 4, 2022