Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back on a threat by President Joe Biden during his first national address on Thursday to reimpose nationwide restrictions if the COVID-19 pandemic were to worsen again.
Calling such a plan “insane,” DeSantis, who moved early last year to reopen his state while protecting vulnerable populations such as those in nursing homes, has vowed never again to lock Florida down under his watch.
“Biden last night said that they may have to impose more lockdown-type policies in the future,” DeSantis said during a press conference in Sebastian, Fla., to discuss vaccine distribution.
“I can tell ya, that ain’t happening in Florida. We are not going to let him lock down Florida. I know they talked about restricting travel of Floridians,” the former U.S. congressman, Harvard Law grad and Navy SEAL JAG officer said. “That’s totally unacceptable, we’ve said that from the beginning.”
“To even contemplate doing any type of lockdown, honestly it’s insane, so that’s not going to happen in the state of Florida,” DeSantis noted further. “We like the fact that people are able to work here… so we’re going to continue doing what works, but under no circumstances would we entertain doing anything of the sort.”
Biden didn’t call for a national lockdown, per se, but did suggest there could be new restrictions.
“Even if we devote every resource we have, beating this virus and getting back to normal depends on national unity,” he had said. “And national unity isn’t just how politics and politicians vote in Washington, what the loudest voices say on cable or online. Unity is what we do as fellow Americans. Because if we don’t say vigilant and the conditions change, then we may have to reinstate restrictions to get back on track.
“And, please, we don’t want to do that again,” the president added.
The popular GOP governor, who came in second to Florida resident Donald Trump in a recent CPAC 2024 presidential poll, went on to tout his state’s COVID vaccine distribution plan while ridiculing Biden’s suggestion during his speech that families could potentially gather in small groups to celebrate the Fourth of July as more Americans received shots.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) March 12, 2021
DeSantis said that his residents have been gathering amongst themselves “for over a year.”
The governor went on to say that the recent $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed by Biden was “fundamentally unfair” because it took “billions of dollars from Florida” and distributed them to states that locked down residents and their economies which he said were ineffective.
Biden’s mention of locking the country down again runs counter to what he told Bloomberg News in November, shortly after the election.
“There will be no national shutdown,” he said then. “There’s no circumstance I can see that would require a total national shutdown.”
Earlier this month, DeSantis ripped Biden’s “pathetic failure of leadership” in pushing for public schools to reopen, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said is safe to do.
“So the evidence is very clear at this point,” DeSantis told Fox News host Mark Levin. “This is just purely being subservient to a special interest and Biden has been one of the worst in it, because when he says, ‘My goal is to get 50 percent of the schools in person in 100 days,’ we’ve already had that.
““His goal should have been yesterday to get everybody back in school, but he can’t do that because he doesn’t want to upset the teachers’ unions,” the governor continued. “It’s a pathetic failure of leadership to not stand up for these kids and for these families.”