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The nation's governors must be aware that Americans will tolerate only so much infringement on their personal freedoms, even in a time of national emergency, before they express outrage, former House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said Friday night.
"There has to be a rationality," Gowdy said during an appearance on Fox News' "Hannity" "Any time government asks the citizenry to do something, there has to be a rational basis for it and the greater the freedom you infringe, the more compelling the reason has to be."
Gowdy and host Mike Huckabee discussed recent coronavirus-induced restrictions across the U.S., including a Texas county judge's 30-day mandate requiring all residents to wear a mask in public or face a $1,000 fine.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said this week he will not enforce the order issued by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo.
"If I’m going to imprison you or fine you for not wearing a mask, why can't I hold you down and vaccinate you against the flu this fall?" Gowdy asked. "You don’t want the flu and COVID-19, so can I involuntarily vaccinate you. Can I show up at your house and make sure you are doing your [exercises] because obesity and COVID-19 don’t go well together? Where does it stop?"
Gowdy praised U.S. Attorney General William Barr for expressing interest in supervising whether governors overstep their bounds in their executive actions, saying: "We are really lucky we have a real lawyer as the AG.
"He understands that for government to be able to infringe on a freedom, there has to be a rational basis and sometimes a compelling reason [behind it]," Gowdy added.
"So, if I’m going to tell you, governor, that you can go visit your mom," he said, referring to a now-notorious order by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, "that is a fundamental right that you have."