Governor Lee Says ‘We’ll See’ as Hundreds of Tennessee National Guardsmen Are Set to Be Fired over Vax Mandate

Several outraged Tennessee National Guard members reached out to The Tennessee Star Wednesday morning immediately after Governor Bill Lee’s (R-TN) interview earlier in the day on Supertalk 99.7 on Nashville’s Morning News with Dan Mandis.

A message delivered by one guardsman on behalf of several was simple: “We are even more outraged at Governor Lee’s lack of support and action than we were before he opened his mouth full of hot air on the radio. He doesn’t seem to care about us.”

During that appearance, Governor Bill Lee made no commitments with regards to the men and women of the Tennessee National Guard who are about to get fired over the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate, the deadline of which is June 30.

Mandis began the interview by asking Governor Lee what is next for the guardsmen.

“I’m concerned just like you and others about the men and women that serve our state. Many of these people have served for years and defended this country and been deployed and – ah – served in other ways across the state. Very much engaged in this issue,” he said.

Lee proceeded to focus on the exemption requests, which he likely knows are a small part of the vaccination issue. Given that the Department of Defense has rejected most of the requests, guardsmen told The Star many didn’t file for an exemption because they knew it would be rejected.

“We take very seriously their personal exemption requests, their religious exemption requests and we have approved those exemptions and exceptions to their vaccination requirement and we have passed those approvals onto the Department of Defense and have requested that they do the same. We have not had a response,” the governor said.

“You know this is happening all across the country. You’re seeing the same thing that we are doing, other governors making that same request. We’re hopeful that the Department of Defense will see this whole mandate thing as a thing of the past. We’ve learned a lot,” he said.

Governor Lee did say he was against the mandates.

“I’ve said that mandates are not the right answer, particularly for the men and women – they are not the right thing for anyone – but especially for those who are serving in our military. So we’re working and pushing hard and we hope for a good outcome there,” Lee said.

Mandis pointed out that other governors have made the same request and those requests have been denied by the Department of Defense. He asked Lee what his next move is if those requests are denied.

He said, “We’ll see when that comes.”

“I mean, we’ve had quite a record of pushing back on the federal government along through these COVID restrictions and it has worked in many cases, partly because, you know, 28 Republican governors across this country who talk to each other and collaborate on efforts to push back on the federal government. That’s being done today, tomorrow with governors,” the Tennessee governor noted.

“We’ll have to see exactly what’s going to happen here, but we’re working to defend our men and women,” he said.

Mandis then asked Lee if he would support a special session in order to address the issue of funding National Guard soldiers’ jobs. Lee declined to address that question at all.

“First of all, we have no plans for terminating anyone in the National Guard and certainly not dishonorably discharging them,” said Lee who then admitted that he has no direct say over whether that happens tomorrow or not. “Surely the federal government won’t do that.”

“Next steps, we need to see what happens here. We’re working to resolve this on behalf of our people and we’ll see what the next steps are,” added Lee.

Lee’s appearance echoes the message that General Assembly members shared with The Star from him.

Previously reported, several affected Tennessee National Guardsmen who are due to be fired on June 30 for refusing to comply with the COVID-19 vaccine mandate were confused and angry after being presented with the message by legislators.

“We’re not sure what Governor Lee says he’s doing, but the one thing that is clear is he is not doing anything to help us,” one person said.

Several others used the words, “useless gesture.”

An officer elaborated, “This text, if true, just looks like a useless gesture so he can say he looked into the matter and then he’ll issue a public statement saying that he did everything he could. This message does not contain anything about ordering his adjutant general to keep us on, a public condemnation of the vaccine mandate, or a statement saying he’s going to ask the Tennessee Attorney General Slatery to file suit on our behalf.”

“Governor Lee needs to publicly give us his support and to vow to do everything in his power, including asking for a Special Session of the General Assembly and ordering his attorney general to file suit, in order to help his men. He is our commander in chief and we need his help before we all get fired,” one guardsman said.

Listen to the interview from Supertalk 99.7 on Nashville’s Morning News with Dan Mandis:

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow Aaron on GETTRTwitterTruth Social, and Parler.
Photo “Gov Bill Lee and  the Tennessee Army National Guard” by Gov. Bill Lee.


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2 Thoughts to “Governor Lee Says ‘We’ll See’ as Hundreds of Tennessee National Guardsmen Are Set to Be Fired over Vax Mandate”

  1. Patriot-1

    Dr. Robert Malone “ Governor Bill Lee is paid off by big Pharma ! “

  2. Mike

    No leadership. No backbone. Nothing new.