White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain landed his boss in hot water on Friday when a federal judge upheld a stay on the president’s vaccine order for private businesses, citing Klain’s retweet of an MSNBC host’s thoughts on the new OSHA rule.
Late last week the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals dealt another blow to President Joe Biden‘s sweeping directive.
The panel of judges called Biden’s mandate ‘staggeringly overbroad’ and ‘superfluous at best.’
A footnote in the 22-page ruling included a Twitter post from September 9 retweeted by Ron Klain.
‘OSHA doing this vaxx mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is an ultimate work-around for the Federal govt to require vaccinations,’ MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle posted.
One member of the bench, Judge Kurt Engelhardt, ruled that Klain’s retweet was an ‘endorsement’ of the phrase ‘work-around.’
Engelhardt wrote in the court’s opinion that public interest is ‘served by maintaining our constitutional structure and maintaining the liberty of individuals to make intensely personal decisions according to their own convictions.
Appearing to refer to Klain he added, ‘Even, or perhaps particularly, when those decisions frustrate government officials.’
Klain got his boss in hot water on Friday when a panel of judges used his retweet as an argument against Biden’s workplace vaccine rule
Klain retweeted MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle after Biden made the announcement
He also accused the Biden administration of adding to ‘economic uncertainty,’ even as officials scramble to fix soaring inflation and growing supply chain problems.
‘From economic uncertainty to workplace strife, the mere specter of the Mandate has contributed to untold economic upheaval in recent months,’ the judge wrote.
Senator Ted Cruz slammed Klain after he shared the post at the time, tweeting: ‘OSHA doing this vaxx [sic] mandate as an emergency workplace safety rule is the ultimate work-around for the Federal govt [sic] to require vaccinations.’
‘Important,’ Cruz tweeted. ‘Foolish RT from WH chief of staff. He said the quiet part out loud. Biden admin knows it’s likely illegal (like the eviction moratorium) but they don’t care.’
But Biden’s Justice Department said on Saturday that it’s not backing away from a fight.
‘This decision is just the beginning of the process for review of this important OSHA standard,’ a DOJ spokesperson told Fox News.
‘The Department will continue to vigorously defend the standard and looks forward to obtaining a definitive resolution following consolidation of all of the pending cases for further review.’
Biden’s Surgeon General Vivek Murthy reacted to the court order with alarm on Sunday.
‘I think it would be a setback for public health,’ Murthy said.
‘What we know very clearly is that when people get vaccinated, and the more people who get vaccinated the quicker we’re able to bring this pandemic to an end, the more lives that we can ultimately save.’
It’s not the first time Klain has been called out for putting too much on social media.
Both Barack Obama and George W. Bush’s chiefs of staff accused Klain last month of spending too much time on Twitter.
He was responding to a tweet from Obama’s former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers who said problems would be ‘much worse’ if the unemployment rate was still 10%
‘I would never have done that. And frankly I don’t know how he does it – how he actually keeps up with what he’s supposed to be focused on, which I think he is keeping up, and doing all this public communicating at the same time,’ Bush Chief of Staff Josh Bolten said in a discussion at American University.
‘I’m both impressed and sort of unimpressed that he gives a significant amount of his time to that.’
Jack Lew, who spent roughly a year as Obama’s chief of staff and later his Treasury Secretary, said Twitter just isn’t ‘a good way for public policy to be made.’
‘I personally think senior officials should have mediated social media presences, if they have them at all, and avoid getting into the back and forth,’ he said.
Though he added of Klain, ‘Ron is as good of a debater as you’re going to find.’
The criticism came as fallout over another problematic retweet that called inflation a problem for ‘high class’ Americans.
Biden himself admitted just days ago that inflation was taking a toll on everyday American families, during a speech in Baltimore on Friday.
After months of downplaying the growing financial toll on US families as just ‘short-term’ damage, Biden conceded prices were ‘too high.’
‘Everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more,’ he said. ‘We still face challenges and we have to tackle them… we have to tackle them head on.’