During a CNN town hall on Thursday evening, President Joe Biden suggested that police officers and emergency workers who refuse COVID-19 vaccination should either stay at home or be fired.
'Yes and yes,' he said to a thunderous round of applause.
'By the way, I waited until July, to talk about mandating, because I tried everything else possible.
'Mandates are working.'
Biden flew to Baltimore for a town hall meeting, where he gave his most comprehensive report yet on efforts to break the impasse over his massive social-spending proposals.
His $3.4 trillion plan, as well as a lesser infrastructure package, are being held up by centrists and progressives.
He stated he was ditching proposals to pay for the spending with a corporate tax hike, that he was considering sending in the National Guard to help with supply chain issues, and that he would defend Taiwan if it was attacked in a 90-minute press conference.
He did, however, explain his position on vaccine requirements in vehement terms.
In terms of COVID-19 vaccination, the United States has fallen behind other developed nations.
Angry protests and allegations of people being dismissed or resigned in protest to a series of demands for federal employees and enterprises with more than 100 employees erupted in response to the mandates.
'Two things that concern me,' he said. 'One, are those who just try to make this a political issue - freedom. "I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID."
Then he criticized what he called 'misinformation' about the death of former Secretary of State Colin Powell that focused on the fact he was fully vaccinated.
'Well he knew he had serious underlying conditions, and it would be difficult,' said Biden.
'He clearly would have been gone earlier had he not gotten the vaccine.'
At the start of the night he was quizzed on his plans for a multi trillion dollar social spending plan, which is currently deadlocked in Washington.
Progressives want to push through a massive overhaul of social spending while centrists - Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin - are pushing to reduce the price of the bill from its original $3.4 trillion.
Biden offered the centrists a concession, backing away from a corporate tax hike to pay for his Build Back Better agenda.
Host Anderson Cooper pressed him on whether he would be able to push through a proposed increase in corporate take to help fund trillions of dollars in new spending.
'No, I don't think we're going to be able to get the votes,' he said.
He had wanted an increase in the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent for the biggest companies, triggering warnings that it could hamper growth and that the costs would be passed on to workers and consumers.
The event, which was held in front of an invited crowd, gave him the opportunity to directly address the public while his own party remained divided.
He was immediately questioned about whether he could persuade his own party's holdouts, particularly Manchin, to change their minds, but he voiced optimism that a compromise was close after weeks of intra-party wrangling.
'I think so, you know, look ... I was a senator for 370 years,' he said triggering laughter.
'I was relatively good at putting together deals.'
Manchin, he added, would fall into line.
'Joe's not a bad guy,' said Biden. 'He's a friend and he's always the end of the day come around.'
But he pushed back at one of Manchin's proposals that parents and other caregivers meet a work requirement before receiving a child tax credit.
'No, here's the deal. All these people are working anyway,' he said, as he signaled that he wanted to target the wealthy.
'And by the way, you know, why should somebody who is not working, and has, you know, makes has a million dollar trust fund, why should they get the benefit?'
Overall, he said, the aim was to get the bill done and worry about what had been left out later.
'I'm prepared to do the things that we can get done now, that can begin to change the lives of ordinary Americans to give them a fighting chance and come back and try to get others later,' he said.
As Biden seeks a final agreement in coming days, questions have emerged about whether some of his most oft-cited promises, like raising taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans might have to be dropped to ensure passage of the spending bill
Biden also explained that he had reduced his vision for paid parental leave.
'It is down to four weeks,' he said. 'I can't get 12 weeks.'