As Florida becomes ground zero (again) for COVID-19 cases as the Delta variant ravages the state, don’t expect Governor Ron DeSantis to accept any help from the White House. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden issued a message to Republican governors who are refusing to initiate mask mandates, or take any proactive measures against rising COVID cases at all, by telling them, “If you aren’t going to help, please get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing.” Apparently, that was a bridge too far for DeSantis.
During a Tuesday evening press conference that was supposed to focus on Florida’s economic situation, DeSantis fired back at Biden and essentially told the president that he is absolutely going to get in the way of efforts to stem the resurgence of the pandemic. Which is a bold stance to take because, again, Florida is seeing an unprecedented number of new cases.
Florida Gov. DeSantis responds to President Biden's criticism: "If you're trying to lock people down, I'm standing in your way. And I'm standing for the people of Florida…Why don't you get this border secure? Until you do that, I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you." pic.twitter.com/wgsJcsDtI6
— WEAR ABC 3 (@weartv) August 4, 2021
Let me tell you this: if you’re coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I’m standing in your way, I’m not gonna let you get away with it. If you’re trying to deny kids a proper in-person education, I’m gonna stand in your way…If you’re trying to lock people down, I’m standing in your way, and I’m standing for the people of Florida. Why don’t you get this border secure? Until you do that, I don’t want to hear a blip about Covid from you.
DeSantis is considered a frontrunner for the Republican presidential candidate in 2024, so this move can be seen as a brazen attempt to play to Trump supporters who have pushed back against any and all COVID mitigation efforts including the vaccine. Of course, there’s the question of how many Trump voters will be left once the pandemic is over, but DeSantis doesn’t seem to be too concerned with those numbers.
(Via WEAR ABC 3 on Twitter)