Gov. Chris Sununu took direct aim at his fellow Republicans on the Executive Committee the day after they voted down federal COVID-19 funding, calling their actions uninformed and irrational.
During a Thursday morning interview on WGIR radio, Sununu singled out Executive Councilors Joseph Kenney and David Wheeler by name, saying they live in a “bizarro world” of conspiracy and misinformation.
“You don’t even know how to argue it at some point because logic has left the building,” Sununu said. “They are listening to social media nonsense and misinformation, and there is zero rational argument.”
Sununu also mocked their claims to be “quote-unquote conservatives” after their proposal the state order private businesses to stop requiring vaccines for their employees.
“That’s what Communist Russia does,” Sununu said.
Sununu also called out Wheeler for claiming the U.S. Constitution guarantees every person a job and for suggesting the state track down every person who has had COVID-19.
“When people start waving the flag and Constitution but clearly have never read the Constitution, it can be a little frustrating,” Sununu said. “These are not conservative values, these are not Constitutional values, it’s emotional nonsense.”
Wheeler did not respond to requests for comment, but Kenney told NHJournal he disputed Sununu’s take on the vote, saying he is concerned about people losing their jobs because of President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate.
“I totally disagree with the governor and I think he is out of touch with working men and women of this state, many who have lost their jobs because of employment vaccine mandates,” Kenney said.
The federal vaccine mandate on private companies, which Sununu has vowed to challenge in court, has not gone into effect. Biden announced on September 9 he was instructing the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to use its emergency powers to force every employer with 100 or more workers to require the vaccine or impose weekly testing. OSHA’s rules still have not been finalized, and many legal experts believe the courts will almost certainly shoot them down.
Still, many private businesses are requiring vaccines on their own, like the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system where 99 percent of employees are currently in compliance.
Kenney did not have hard figures on how many people have lost their jobs in New Hampshire because of mandates, but he said 16 hospital staffers in the North Country recently walked off the job because of them.
Sununu blames much of the turmoil on anti-government Free Staters who tried to impeach him for using executive orders during the pandemic. The same group now wants him to use executive orders to interfere with private companies over vaccine mandates, he said.
State Police arrested nine people Wednesday during the Executive Council meeting for allegedly disrupting the meeting.
When asked, Sununu would not commit to campaigning for Wheeler and Kenney next year.