Former President Donald Trump called on “MAGA Nation” to “rise up” against vaccine mandates on the eve of the anniversary of the U.S. Capitol riot, when a mob of his supporters tried to overthrow the presidential election.
Critics have attributed similar language to his incitement of the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021.
In a statement released by his spokesperson Wednesday, Trump railed against President Joe Biden’s strategies to combat COVID-19, which is again spreading rapidly around the country as the omicron variant takes hold.
“Now, there’s talk by the Biden Administration again about closing schools and even vaccine mandates for school children,” the statement said. “This is an outrage, and MAGA nation should rise up and oppose this egregious federal government overreach.”
Biden has not announced any plans to expand vaccine mandates to schoolchildren.
All 50 states have legislation requiring certain vaccines for students. Currently, California is the only state requiring children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for school entry in 2022, though some cities, counties and school districts have implemented coronavirus vaccine requirements for certain age groups or for activities such as sports, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Trump was criticized for his use of the term “rise up” one year after the violent storming of the Capitol, which he was impeached by the House for inciting. (He was acquitted in his Senate trial.)
A year ago, Trump had encouraged supporters to “fight like hell” in a National Mall speech just before the riot. He had spent weeks firing up supporters with false accusations that the November 2020 election was stolen from him.
Trump initially scheduled a news conference for Thursday but then canceled it, reportedly on the advice of allies including Fox News host Laura Ingraham and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Trump has been unrepentant in the year since his followers ransacked the Capitol and sought out members of Congress in an effort to overturn the election results, and he has continued to feed them disinformation about electoral fraud.
Recent revelations from the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack showed that allies who have publicly joined him in downplaying the violence had privately implored him to end it at the time.