White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday said she was “not going to comment” after a reporter confronted her about Biden’s praise of a Coast Guard rescue swimmer who is facing termination for not being vaccinated.
Joe Biden personally called Coast Guard swimmer AST2 Zack Loesch for his heroism in saving an elderly couple and their dog last week off Fort Meyers, Florida.
The Biden White House reported the call on its webpage on Friday, saying in part:
President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with Lieutenant Commander Christopher Hooper and Aviation Survival Technician Second Class Zach Loesch to personally thank them for the heroic work that they and their Coast Guard colleagues have performed during search and rescue operations in response to Hurricane Ian.
The President thanked them for saving lives and asked for a report on the work that continues to rescue Floridians. He also asked if they needed any additional support that he can provide to accelerate successful rescues; they indicated they have gotten what they need to execute their vital mission.
What the Biden team likely didn’t realize is that AST2 Loesch is going to be discharged in a week or two for not being vaccinated.
Loesch is being hailed as a hero along with the rest of his crew, and rightfully so. However, Loesch was set to sit down with his chain of command and receive his impending, involuntary discharge from the Coast Guard. He, along with four other rescue swimmers at Air Station Clearwater, are unvaccinated. Loesch submitted a Religious Accommodation (RA) to the Coast Guard, but it was denied. The Coast Guard is already understrength in regards to Rescue Swimmers, plus the training is very difficult and has an incredibly high attrition rate…
RealClearNews reporter Philip Wegmann asked Karine Jean-Pierre if Joe Biden would reconsider issuing more Covid vaxx exemptions.
“The president recently praised a group of Coast Guard rescue swimmers, one of them reportedly faces termination because he isn’t vaccinated. I’m curious. Given the threats that we’re facing abroad, would the president ever reconsider that vaccination requirement or reconsider issuing more exemptions?” Wegmann asked.
Karine Jean-Pierre said she wasn’t going to comment and punted the question to the Coast Guard.
.@PhilipWegmann: Biden “recently praised a group of Coast Guard rescue swimmers, one of them reportedly faces termination b/c he’s not vaccinated…Given the threats that we’re facing…would [he] ever reconsider…or…issu[e] more exemptions?”
KJP ducks, passes to Coast Guard pic.twitter.com/Mmy7GP8RgM
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) October 4, 2022