JIM SHARPE

Arizona AG Brnovich hedges bet on vaccine mandates for businesses

Aug 23, 2021, 12:04 PM
(YouTube Screenshot/Mark Brnovich for Senate)...
(YouTube Screenshot/Mark Brnovich for Senate)
(YouTube Screenshot/Mark Brnovich for Senate)

On Friday, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich released a legal opinion that basically said private Arizona businesses can require employees to be vaccinated and businesses can require patrons to prove they’re vaccinated in order to enter their business (as long as a business provides reasonable accommodations for medical and religious exemptions).

This pro-business legal opinion from Brnovich is in line with conservative Republican thinking on private property rights — so he was proud of it, right?

Yeah, not so much… and the timing proves it.

The press release from his office announcing this legal opinion went out a few minutes before 5 p.m. on Friday. And every political consultant (even former ones like me) will tell you that time of the week is the Black Hole of News: A place you send stories you never actually want reported. At quitting time on a Friday, everybody’s already halfway out the door of their newsroom — so it’s the perfect time to announce something you have to but don’t want to.

But why did he try to bury his story? I mean, Brno’s face is everywhere right now! He’s running for the U.S. Senate seat that Democrat Mark Kelly’s in now and needs the publicity.

Well, the simple answer is this: In order to get to the general election, Brnovich has to get through the Republican primary first and a lot of Republicans don’t trust the vaccine. Nor are they in the mood right now to be told what to do — even on someone else’s private property.

It’s probably why, in the press release accompanying the legal opinion, Brnovich went out of his way to say, “…our role with respect to an Attorney General opinion is to say what the law is, not what it should be.”

There is enough pushback within the Republican Party — on all things COVID — that many Republicans have moved away from the idea that private businesses can require anything anymore and no one seems to believe that business owners have the right to refuse service to anyone — if it’s COVID-related, that is.

Heck, Donald Trump — during a Trump rally Saturday night — almost got booed when he mentioned that he got vaccinated.

Sure, Trump’s enjoying immunity from COVID — but if he is not immune from his own supporters’ hate of the vaccine, then Mark Brnovich certainly isn’t.

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Arizona AG Brnovich hedges bet on vaccine mandates for businesses