2024 preview? Ron DeSantis sets up ‘travel ban’ showdown with Biden White House
Image via Colin Hackley.

Tough words in Port Charlotte.

Florida’s Governor blasted as “unconstitutional” a trial balloon floated from the Joe Biden administration that would see domestic travel restrictions imposed on the state, setting up a day of what would be aggressive messaging and fundraising appeals to his base.

“Any attempt to restrict or lockdown Florida by the federal government would be an attack on our state, done purely for political purposes,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in Port Charlotte Thursday morning, leading off a news conference with a warlike speech aimed at some reported considerations from the Biden administration.

The Governor added that “if anyone tries to harm Floridians or target us, we will respond very swiftly,” wrapping up nearly four minutes of remarks alternating between the defense of the state’s coronavirus record and seeming anticipation of a confrontation with the Democratic presidential administration.

DeSantis was referring to a Miami Herald report, in which Biden White House members mulled what DeSantis called “some type of travel restrictions on Americans and on Floridians.” The concern is the B.1.1.7 strain of COVID-19, of which Florida has the most cases of any state.

The Governor was not sold.

“I think it’s an absurd report that they are thinking about doing that. It would be unconstitutional. It would be unwise. And it would be unjust,” DeSantis decried, before serving up a slab of red meat for Fox News and the rest of the national conservative media.

“And if you think about it, restricting the right of Americans to travel freely throughout our country, while illegal aliens pour across the southern border unmolested, would be a ridiculous, but very damaging, farce. So we will oppose it 100%,” DeSantis added. “It would not be based in science. It would be a political attack against the people of Florida.”

“It’s unclear why they would even try talking about that,” DeSantis said, noting Florida is middle of the pack in caseload and hospitalizations, with “much worse COVID results” in over half the country.

“Over the winter … we were way less per capita than a whole lot of lockdown states who are always cited as ‘the right way to do it,'” the Governor added.

Both of the state’s U.S. Senators, unsurprisingly, sided with Florida over Biden.

Sen. Marco Rubio called it an “authoritarian” proposal. And Sen. Rick Scott, no particular ally of DeSantis, nonetheless got in his critique of the concept.

The “Florida travel ban idea is crazy. The seesaw policy ‘considerations’ from the Biden admin only hurt Florida’s working families whose livelihoods depend on tourism dollars,” Scott said.

Scott re-upped the condemnation in a Fox and Friends interview over the weekend.

“This is just a wishy washy policy consideration from the Biden Administration that would hurt Florida’s businesses and families,” Scott told host Jedidiah Bila. “This makes no sense. Look, Biden and the Democrats around the country are jealous of Florida. They’re jealous that everybody wants to move [here].”

Scott added that “this is just an attack on Florida businesses, an attack on Florida families. It makes no economic sense.”

GOP members of Florida’s delegation also joined the fray via a letter penned by U.S. Rep. Byron Donalds.

“As members of the Florida Republican Congressional Delegation, we are concerned about recent reports that your Administration is considering implementing travel restrictions to our beloved home, the Sunshine State,” the letter reads. “This decision not only lacks merit but is also unequivocally unconstitutional and reeks of partisanship that will only cause reprehensible damage to our state and the more than 21 million Americans who call Florida home.”

Eight other Florida Republican House members signed on to the letter including Sarasota Rep. Greg Steube, Lakeland Rep. Scott Franklin, Gainesville Rep. Kat Cammack, North Florida Rep. Neal Dunn and Melbourne Rep. Bill Posey. South Florida Reps. Maria Elvira Salazar, Carlos Gimenez and Mario Diaz-Balart also signed.

Meanwhile, the Governor quickly capitalized on the opportunity to showcase conflict with Biden, even as a conservative media DeSantis for President boomlet has again emerged. And to fundraise off it.

A fundraising email went out early Thursday afternoon, claiming, “Biden thinks I’ll roll over.”

“Joe Biden and his Big Tech overlords think they can silence me and the millions of patriots who are fighting for America First instead of the World Health Organization, the United Nations, and the rest of the China-loving globalists,” the pitch claims, urging a “contribution to support my America First agenda,” and to send a message to every “RINO, Socialist, and fake news media that you are in this fight.”

A text message blast went out Thursday afternoon also from the Republican Party of Florida, but with a more familiar name speaking words that were said at a state press conference just hours before.

“Biden is trying to shut FL’s border while letting illegals pour over our southern border,” read the message from “Gov DeSantis,” soliciting donations.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Sam

    February 11, 2021 at 11:31 am

    I’m glad he’s not a hypocrite or anything….

  • Ron Ogden

    February 11, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    If you think defending this state and the entire idea of federalism is somehow serving “a slab of red meat for . . . conservative media”, than even you would have to admit that being completely over the top for Democrats and Biden is a prerequisite to appear in this blob. . .or should I say “blog”? No, Blob is more accurate.

  • Karellen

    February 11, 2021 at 2:30 pm

    Tubby targets some of usual the bogeymen here,Socialists,fake news, globalists. Say what you will but DeathSentence can stay on message. Lump Limpblob should be proud.

  • TD Davis

    February 11, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    Will we ever get an article that gives us the news instead of someone’s biased opinions? Sick of “journalist” and I use that term loosely, like AG Garcanski. This article should go in the trashcanski!

  • Roger

    February 11, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    TD Davis, exactly what I was thinking. His liberalism is showing.

  • Bob

    February 11, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    You just showed your hand as a typical Democrat; fake offense at anything said that isn’t in lockstep with their thinking but then make a puerile remark like calling someone “fatty.” Aren’t you the party who “cares” about everyone’s feelings. Oh, that’s right, only when you believe it works to your political advantage. Why shallow, morally bankrupt mode of behavior.

  • Maggie MacBrown

    February 12, 2021 at 5:44 am

    Desantis has been playing politics with this pandemic, unchecked, for too long. He has caused many deaths. I am very grateful that Biden is taking over for him. I went to publix for a vaccination. I waited an hour with people coughing all over me. No one was socially distancing. They did 5 vaccinations an hour. It is what you would expect when the provider made big contributions to disantis to get the contract. Desantis is corrupt right out in the light of day and right in our faces. If travel bans helps more people to live, I am for it.

  • Laura Hufford

    February 12, 2021 at 7:26 am

    Is that a joke? This virus, if you research it, was created and patented by Fauci, the CDC and others in early 2000’s. Most politicians, if not all, know that. Follow the money. Your Governor is a hero for standing up. This virus is just a money maker to them and the “powers” are making hand over fist reporting the fake number in their fake news. Amazing how flu is down? It’s propaganda. 87,000 doctors and nurses came together to tell the world what they knew and were blocked by social media and news. Journalism is dead and bought. Call me names, hate me, whatever, but do your research. Then you will see your Governor is a hero to most people. Good on you Governor DeSantis!

  • John Cochran

    February 12, 2021 at 9:07 am

    Sounds like Biden trying to start a fight with the Governor,bring it on Biden you’re be impeached!

  • PeterH

    February 12, 2021 at 10:06 am

    There is a fascinating Conservative George Will analysis in today’s Washington Post titled:

    “Will Senate Republicans allow their louts to rule the party?”

    All the usual suspects are listed ….. I’m sure loser DeSantis will be emblazoned with them in short order.

    Conservatives will anxiously await to see how Senate members of Republican Bobby Jindal’s “Party of Stupid” vote in the next few days on Trump’s impeachment. For real Conservatives the Party’s future hangs on this vote!

  • Tom

    February 12, 2021 at 11:18 am

    DeSantis imposed travel restrictions on New Yorkers coming to Florida back in the spring of 2020 because of New York’s large covid-19 infection rate. Now he is told that some staffers in the White House are “considering” travel restrictions on Florida because of the large covid-19 variant rate here and he pretends to be outraged. What an ass.

  • truth-seeker

    February 12, 2021 at 11:22 am

    DeSantis is a hero for standing up for the truth. You people that are so afraid to live, you need to do your own independent research and turn off the TV.

  • Lisa

    February 12, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Thank you Gov. DeSantis, Keep fighting the good fight and let’s be the first state to end abortion, with no exceptions!


    February 12, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Governor DeSantis continue to do the job you were elected to do and that is protect the state of Florida and never let the Democrats take our freedoms from us in our State! God Bless you!

  • Chuck Willis

    February 12, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    …..”DeSantis decried, before serving up a slab of red meat for Fox News”….
    FYI FOX news is not supported by a large and growing majority of Conservatives anymore (as evidenced by their slide into mediocrity and falling ratings). We don’t like them any more than liberals do. You need to update your liberal talking points if you strive for any semblance of accuracy.

  • M.Rivera

    February 12, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    He was to busy kissing trumps ass. Which caused many to die. Why are they not held accountable for Americans lives.. We are the biggest super spreaders because of him. Like the Super Bowl. What happened no mask no social distancing. They don’t care about us. They care avout the money they generate.. Money over the HEALTH of USA citizens.. Not cool

  • bill bard

    February 13, 2021 at 12:36 am

    Flapol is just another socialist propaganda media outlet.

  • Sonja Fitch

    February 13, 2021 at 4:53 am

    Lol Duffus Desantis is running against his real challenger Nazi Rick. Lol. Duffus Desantis you put a travel hold on New Yorker’s. Duffus Desantis told Fox News. So it is a lie. Duffus Desantis is willingly slaughtering Floridians. Vote Democrat for the common good in 2022.

  • DK

    February 13, 2021 at 1:56 pm

    “I agree that “covid 19” is a joke while Corona virus is real. The number of people with Corona virus is minimal while the number of people false testing positive for the Covid virus is a real. There are 5 strains of Covid virus. Any URI, SARs, pneumonia, and including Corona are covid virus. The number of positive results are for any of these strains. The numbers are skewed to make Americans think that every positive Covid test is the same as Corona virus by calling it Covid 19. 19 not a strain but a year Corona virus came out. PCR test was never intended to be a test for Corona virus. This is flu season and every one running to the doctor to get a test because you have a runny nose is insane. The swab test will be a false negative or positive for Covid 19 if the timeframe is not adequate and the PCR test was never intended to even be a test. Testing people 3 days before returning to US for a negative Covid is ridiculous, the test is only accurate within a 4-5 day timeframe. So, lets say I want to travel to Florida for a long weekend. Doing a rapid test is not going to determine I have Corona Virus or any virus. You can test positive for Covid one day and negative the next. How does this stupid swab test do anything for travel? I hope Desantis keeps Florida open. Your economy is the best in the US. I wish people would quit listening to China owned news and start researching outside the box. Learn for yourself what the media and democrats’ are brain washing you with. You can find the strains of “Covid” on the CDC website.

  • Tina Payton

    February 13, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    Yeah ,if you don’t want to go to Florida then don’t. Leave the restrictions to the states , like it should be.

  • Steve N Rachel

    February 13, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    We are so proud he is our Governor! We got your back! Atlantic Beach Floridian

  • sandra

    February 15, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    Well, he secretly wants at least 100 million ppl dead, so the nwo can start off well. Gimme a break We are screwed, unless someone else sees this. 🙁

  • Tjb

    February 15, 2021 at 4:02 pm

    Help me to understand, DeSantis implemented travel restrictions into Florida a year ago ( his Executive Order Number 20-82) but now he cries foul when the Biden administration is considering similar restrictions. I call BS on him for being a hypocrite and a despicable politician. Perhaps our governor is not happy that only 29,000 Floridians have died from COVID-19,

  • Sonja Fitch

    February 15, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    Seems like the GOPQ is alive and spreading lies in Florida. Duffus Desantis is using Nazi herd immunity, kill or be killed willingly on Floridians. Vote Democrat up and down ballot in the 2022 elections!

  • Leslie Large

    February 15, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    I live on the southern border how about we send all you dems all the illegals? They haven’t been screened for COVID unless they go stay at a shelter. Which most will not, some are just being dropped off at Greyhound station here. Some of the family units go to Catholic Charities, oh by the way they threw out all the homeless people from Catholic Charities to the streets to house the illegals. Luckily churches, schools, & shelters expanded or opened for the current cold snap.

Comments are closed.


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