Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis furiously attacked President Joe Biden on Wednesday after the president implored governors to ‘get out of the way’ of COVID restrictions – accusing Biden of failing to do his job.
DeSantis complained that Biden was trying to ‘single out Florida,’ after the state broke its own record for COVID-19 hospitalizations, and attempted to shift the focus to the president’s handling of a surge in apprehensions at the southern border.
‘Why don’t you do your job? Why don’t you get this border secure?’ DeSantis angrily told Biden, in a press conference on Wednesday.
‘And until you do that I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you.’
Florida set an all-time record for COVID hospitalizations on Tuesday, with 11,515 hospitalized in one day.
The previous day also saw a record 10,389 hospitalizations, outpacing its previous peak on July 23, 2020, when there were 10,170 hospitalizations.
‘Joe Biden has taken to himself to try to single out Florida over COVID,’ said DeSantis.
‘This is a guy who ran saying he was going to shut down the virus. What he’s done is imported the virus from around the world with a wide open southern border.’
The Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, left, during an angry press conference asked Joe Biden, right, ‘why don’t you do your job at the border’
Florida is averaging 27,681 cases per day, a 342% increase from the 6,492 average cases reported two weeks ago (left). COVID-19 hospitalizations also reached a record high with 11,515, breaking the previous record of 10, 207 set on Monday (right)
The number of people who said the US is moving in a favorable direction with the pandemic has also fallen as cases surged over July
‘We can either have a free society or we can have a biomedical security state.
‘And I can tell you, Florida, we’re a free state. People are going to be free to choose.’
Conservatives applauded DeSantis’s punchy remarks.
‘Gov. DeSantis takes a massive wrecking ball to Biden’s absurd criticism on his handling of COVID,’ tweeted Benny Johnson, Turning Point USA chief creative officer.
‘Watch the whole thing. COMPLETE. MIC. DROP.’
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, urged DeSantis to do more to help Florida’s COVID battle.
‘Twenty three per cent of new COVID hospitalizations in the U.S are in Florida, and their hospitals are being overwhelmed again,’ she said on Twitter.
‘We are doing everything we can to help the people of FL, and they’re stepping up by getting vaccinated – we hope @GovRonDeSantis joins us in this fight.’
Joe Biden is pictured on Tuesday, urging more Americans to get vaccinated and prevent the spread of the Delta variant
On Tuesday, Biden had singled out DeSantis’ state and Texas for particular criticism.
Ted Cruz laughs at Joe Biden urging governors to ‘get out the way’
The Texas senator was asked on Wednesday about Biden calling for governors to ‘get out of the way’ of federal efforts to combat COVID.
‘There’s a Yiddish word called chutzpah,’ said Cruz, speaking to Fox News.
‘And I think Joe Biden is embodying that word right now.’
Cruz then echoed DeSantis’ response, criticizing the Biden administration for allowing COVID to spread among migrants and then releasing the infected migrants into the community.
‘We just had news breaking today that in the last several months, the Biden administration has released over 7,000 illegal aliens who were COVID positive just in one Texas city, in the city of McAllen, in the Rio Grande Valley,’ said Cruz.
‘Last week, the Biden administration released over 1,500 illegal aliens in McAllen who were COVID positive.
‘That is unacceptable and they keep doing it.’
Cruz said that the election of Biden was in itself ‘a superspreader event’ because of his approach to migration.
‘And Joe Biden likes to talk about this pandemic,’ Cruz concluded.
‘Well I’ll tell you what: the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris was a superspreader event because their open border is endangering not just the people of Texas, but the people all across the country.’
‘Just two states, Florida and Texas, account for one third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country. Just two states,’ he said.
Biden criticized Florida and Texas for barring schools and local governments from imposing mask mandates.
‘They should free people to do the right thing, such as allowing teachers to ask students to wear masks, he continued.
‘I say to these governors, please help.
‘But if you’re not going to help at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.’
DeSantis shot back: ‘Joe Biden suggests if you don’t do lockdown policies then you should ‘get out of the way.’
‘Well let me tell you this, if you’re coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I’m standing in your way.
‘If you’re trying to lock people down, I’m standing in your way.’
With the much more contagious Delta variant now spreading exponentially, Florida hit 11,515 hospitalized patients on Tuesday, breaking last year’s record for the third straight day and up from just 1,000 in mid-June.
DeSantis said he expects hospitalizations to drop in the next couple weeks, insisting that the spike is seasonal as Floridians spend more time together indoors to escape the summer heat and humidity.
On Monday, the White House announced that it had finally reached its target of delivering at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine to 70 per cent of the population.
However, the milestone was reached a month late, reflecting hesitancy among young people in particular.
Combined with the highly infectious Delta variant, the result has been a surge in cases around the country.
That rise in infections prompted health officials last week to recommend that even people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 return to wearing masks in some public indoor settings.
And on Tuesday, New York City announced that if residents aren’t vaccinated, they won’t be able to participate in day-to-day activities like going out to dinner indoors and going to the gym.
‘No voter ID but you have to show your medical papers just to be able to live everyday life,’ DeSantis said, blasting the city’s measure and nodding to Democrats who have opposed strict voter ID laws.
In an executive order signed on Thursday, Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of the Texas, banned state agencies from mandating vaccinations. It also reinforced a previous order preventing officials from introducing mask mandates.
A day later, DeSantis issued an executive order rejecting mask mandates in schools.
A vaccination site is seen at Miami airport in Florida on May 28. Florida is currently seeing a surge in cases
Miami-Dade residents line-up as they are tested for COVID-19 at Cagni Park on August 1
Both Biden’s and DeSantis’ approval ratings have slipped as the nation takes on another wave of the virus.
A Harvard-Harris poll taken in the end of July found that Biden’s approval rating had tanked 10 percentage points to 52 per cent, from 62 per cent in June, as his promise of a ‘summer of freedom’ slips from his grasp with increasing COVID-19 cases.
DeSantis, meanwhile, has seen his popularity slip with voters in his own state and now trails Democratic challenger Rep. Charlie Crist, according to a new poll.
But the survey, by Florida-based St. Pete Polls, found voters disapproved of the governor’s opposition to mask mandates in school.
Overall 45.3 per cent of voters said they backed Crist, who was governor from 2007 to 2011, compared to 43.8 per cent who favored DeSantis.