Fox News host Brian Kilmeade clashed with John Kirby, the White House coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, on Tuesday’s “Fox & Friends” over the military vaccine mandate.
Kilmeade confronted Kirby on the mandatory COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which has barred more than 60,000 unvaccinated soldiers, including 8,913 U.S. Marines, 2,632 Coast Guardsman and 3,955 U.S. Air Force members, from military training and federally funded drills over their refusal to receive the vaccine.
“You, as an admiral, who knows what it takes and the sacrifice you make to join the military, to get kicked out like this, can you possibly talk some sense into this White House to reverse policy?” Kilmeade asked.
“I’ll tell you Brian, you and I have talked about this for quite some time over the past year or so, vaccinations are a valid military requirement. You want your troops to be ready and part of being ready is being healthy and not having the ability to infect your unit and make their unit readiness any worse than it is,” Kirby replied.
Kilmeade argued the current vaccinations do not address the current variants. Therefore the mandate has barred qualified people from participation. (RELATED: Supreme Court Sides With Biden Admin, Against Air Force Officer Protesting Vaccine Mandate)
“To invest in our people and train them and then dismiss them for an experimental vaccine is folly when you can’t recruit, every one of your branches can’t recruit their threshold and yet you’re kicking out good men and women,” Kilmeade continued. “How do you explain that?”
“You have a requirement to be healthy to be able to serve,” Kirby said. “It’s a valid military requirement—”
“You really think so?” Kilmeade interrupted.
Kirby argued that although the vaccine does not prevent infection, it lessens the severity of symptoms, allowing military personnel to return to duty faster. Kilmeade responded that the mandate is kicking out “the healthiest people in our country.”
“So it’s worth kicking out the healthiest people in our country who are already sacrificing, it’s worth kicking them out?” the Fox News host asked.
“Brian, Brian, we would rather not lose anybody of course to the vaccine, we’d rather not lose anybody from a retention perspective to have them leave the service earlier than they want or we wanted them to. But it’s a valid military requirement,” Kirby said.
“No it isn’t, it’s an experimental vaccine that just came off the shelf, you know it’s not valid and a risk on national security,” the host pushed back. “You are an admiral military officer, you can talk sense into this White House.”
Kirby then argued that vaccines are a requirement for individuals to join the military to ensure their health and ability to serve.
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt said one military member who saved a person from drowning is being kicked out of the military in 30-60 days for being unvaccinated for religious reasons.
The military has been in the process of discharging members in order to enforce the vaccine mandate. The U.S. Air Force, for example, discharged 27 members in December, 2021 for refusing to take the shot and denied over 2,100 religious exemption requests.