The Salt Lake City Tribune editorial board published an editorial on Saturday that called on the Utah governor to use the National Guard to prevent unvaccinated citizens from going anywhere.
In an editorial titled, "Utah leaders have surrendered to COVID pandemic, the Editorial Board writes" the paper lays blame at elected officials for failing to mandate the vaccine for all citizens. The paper asserted that if Utah was a "civilized place," Republican Gov. Spencer Cox would implement a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for the state and have the National Guard enforce the mandate by not letting unvaccinated people go "anywhere."
"Were Utah a truly civilized place, the governor’s next move would be to find a way to mandate the kind of mass vaccination campaign we should have launched a year ago, going as far as to deploy the National Guard to ensure that people without proof of vaccination would not be allowed, well, anywhere," the editorial board wrote.
While the editorial board placed blame at all levels of government, they were more critical of Republicans like Cox.
"Government officials, mostly but not exclusively Republicans, were apparently determined not to be caught governing in the face of this challenge. Any move or recommendation to mask up or, when safe and effective vaccines became available, to make vaccination a requirement of admission to public places and society in general was shouted down as an unwarranted imposition on individual freedoms," it wrote. "Cox and so many others have not carried the courage of their convictions. Cox, state legislative leaders, our congressional delegation and Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes have so proudly stood against the kind of vaccine mandates that civilized society has used for generations to effectively wipe out everything from polio to diphtheria to the measles."
The paper's criticism for President Biden was tepid in comparison. They applauded Biden's effort to implement a nationwide vaccine mandate but criticized the president for taking too long to make COVID-19 tests and N-95 masks widely available.
"President Joe Biden tried to pull a couple of useful levers by ordering vaccine mandates for health care workers and vaccine-or-test rules for workplaces of more than 100 employees. The U.S. Supreme Court this week upheld the former while quashing the latter, foolishly holding that a communicable disease is not a workplace hazard," the editorial board wrote. "Not that Biden is blameless in all this. Seeing the obvious reluctance of so many people to get, or to require, vaccinations has only now moved him to push to make tests and the most effective kind of masks available to everyone. It’s the right thing to do, but months late."
Critics fired back at the paper, especially on the suggestion the National Guard be deployed to force unvaccinated individuals to stay in their homes.
"This is mindless, anti-science insanity — omicron is infecting everyone — but these "journalists" are demanding totalitarianism. And they think they’re the good guys," OutKick founder Clay Travis wrote in a tweet.
Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, R., tweeted, "The truth is Omicron is out of control everywhere. Even in places with mask and vaccine mandates. We always push vaccines, but even vaccinated ppl [sic] are catching it. It’s easy to take shots from the cheap seats but this is the sort of nonsense that makes editorial boards irrelevant."
"Use the national guard to prevent unvaccinated from going anywhere?! That would be more draconian than any state in the country - how do they think things are going in Australia? The Trib editorial board is absolute garbage," former staffer for former Utah senator Orrin Hatch, Matt Whitlock tweeted.