- Twitter / Chip Roy
- Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Roy has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of COVID-19.
U.S. Rep. Chip Roy, who's made pants-shitting meltdowns over COVID-19 safety protocols the centerpiece of his political brand, is at it again.
After San Antonio-based USAA sent a letter to employees Tuesday asking them to share their vaccination status by Jan. 4 so it can plan for more returning to the office, the Texas Republican shared the memo on Twitter, slapping on the hashtags #HealthcareFreedom and #DoNotComply.
"So @USAA is not 'firing' anyone (yet), but is requiring that employees show their papers?" tweeted Roy, whose district includes San Antonio. The far-right congressman's message makes the not-so-subtle inference that the insurance giant is secretly ginning up plans to pink slip unvaxxed freedom lovers.
A USAA spokesperson told the Express-News the company is encouraging staffers to get their jabs but not mandating it. However, those who remain unvaccinated must wear a mask when on its corporate campus, he added.
In the letter itself, USAA Chief Human Resources Officer Pat Teague doesn't mention firings or dismissals, only noting that the firm wants to stay in line with evolving federal rules and better plan for more people returning to in-person work.
In language that suggests USAA's PR team underwent multiple rewrites to strike an appropriately diplomatic tone, Teague acknowledges there are a "wide range of perspectives on this sensitive topic" and urges "respect and empathy for all points of view."
Even so, Teague says science shows vaccinations provide a safe way forward as the company looks to bring more people back to the office.
"Getting vaccinated remains a personal choice but the impact extends far beyond one person,” he writes. “Science has shown that it is the most effective way to safeguard ourselves, our loved ones and our teammates as we conduct our daily routines, serve our members and gather in our communities.”
Then again, subtlety isn't exactly something Roy has trafficked in during his two terms in Congress. The former staffer for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is better known for disruptions and tantrums than legislative accomplishments.
Along with other members of the far-right Freedom Caucus — yes, the same one fellow GOP Congressman Dan Crenshaw recently slammed as "grifters" — Roy has repeatedly used the pandemic as a political sledgehammer.
In addition to his recent effort to shut down the federal government over the Biden White House's vaccination mandates, Roy has been reprimanded for ignoring U.S. House mask rules, claimed COVID was a Democratic hoax and disregarded federal law requiring masks on commercial flights.
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