Republicans accuse Biden of controlling Americans with ‘fear’ as COVID cases spike

Biden gives somber address in plea with unvaccinated Americans

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Republicans immediately pushed back on President Biden’s address to the nation Tuesday, accusing him of stoking "fear" of the coronavirus to exert his power. 

In a sobering public address, the president again pleaded with unvaccinated Americans to get the shot in their arms to stop the spread of COVID-19 as cases again spike nationwide.

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President Joe Biden speaks about the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the State Dining Room of the White House.

President Joe Biden speaks about the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the State Dining Room of the White House. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

"How concerned should you be about omicron, which is now the dominant variant in this country?" Biden questioned in preface to his answer. "If you're not fully vaccinated, you have good reason to be concerned. You're at a high risk of getting sick. And if you get sick, you're likely to spread it to others."

The president also reiterated that "almost everyone" who has died from the coronavirus over the past several months was unvaccinated.

But Republicans took issue with Biden’s tone and accused him of using fear as a means of control.

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"This is all about power," South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem took to Twitter to say. "Not science. Not facts. The Biden administration will do and say ANYTHING to control the American people with fear."

It is unclear which part of the speech Noem believed was factually inaccurate, but her frustration over the president’s speech was echoed by those on the Hill.

"Biden’s press conference is a joke," wrote Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs. "The only plan he has for COVID is to continue manipulating mandates to maintain control over you."

During his speech, Biden said the U.S. would not see economic shutdowns or closed schools as witnessed at the onslaught of the pandemic. 

But other Republicans were frustrated that he used the speech to draw differences between vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans. 

U.S. President Joe Biden listens to a question as he speaks about the country's fight against coronavirus at the White House in Washington, U.S., Dec. 21, 2021.

U.S. President Joe Biden listens to a question as he speaks about the country's fight against coronavirus at the White House in Washington, U.S., Dec. 21, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

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In the lead-up to the address, Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott urged the president to avoid division in his address on the coronavirus pandemic.

"Senator Rick Scott appreciates that the president acknowledged the efforts by the Trump administration, scientists and the medical community to quickly develop and approve a COVID-19 vaccine, which has been pivotal in our nation combatting the virus and getting our economy reopened over the past year," his office told Fox News.

"It’s disappointing but not surprising that President Biden and Democrats are doubling down on their fear tactics, veiled threats and government-control-all approach," a spokesperson added. "It very clearly isn’t working for the American people or businesses – they don’t need to be told how to live their lives or celebrate their holiday season."