PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. - One day after President Joe Biden criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ approach to the COVID-19 pandemic as "bad health policy," the governor fired back.
Biden, during a press briefing in the White House on Tuesday, was asked about moves by DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that have included such things as blocking school districts from requiring students to wear masks.
"I believe the results of their decisions are not good for their constituents," Biden said, according to a transcript released by the White House. "And it's clear to me and to most of the medical experts that the decisions being made, like not allowing mask mandates in school and the like, are bad health policy --- bad health policy."
During a press conference on Florida's economy Wednesday, DeSantis made sure to switch gears to address Biden's statements, saying the president "has taken to himself to single out Florida over COVID-19."
He then launched into a criticism of the Biden administration's handling of immigration at the US-Mexico border, claiming the president was "importing more virus from around the world" by letting migrants into the country.
"Whatever variants are around the world, they're coming across that southern border," DeSantis said. "He's not shutting down the virus, he's helping to facilitate it."
During Biden's Tuesday briefing, he specifically referenced Florida and Texas for blocking the reimposition of mask mandates. DeSantis recently signed an executive order banning school districts from implementing mask mandates in public schools.
"If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way of people trying to do the right thing," Biden said.
"If you're coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I'm standing in your way," DeSantis defiantly responded on Wednesday. "If you're trying to deny kids a proper in-person education, I'm going to stand in your way and stand up for the kids in Florida. If you're trying to restrict people and impose mandates and ruin their jobs and livelihood; if you are trying to lock people down, I am standing in your way. I am standing for the people of Florida."
He finished by saying, "Why don't you do your job, why don't you get this border secure? Until you do that, I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you."