Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested Monday that his legal victory over the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will serve as a larger check against the federal government and what he perceives as overreach amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at a Jacksonville press conference, DeSantis took a moment to highlight a federal court decision released Friday against the CDC’s no-sail order and its implications.
The order, instituted in early 2020, halted cruise ship operations nationwide.
“We’ve seen throughout this country, government overstep its bounds in response to the coronavirus pandemic and you can’t have an agency relying on flimsy legal authority to just keep an entire industry closed with really no path forward,” DeSantis said.
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed the lawsuit in April after the CDC failed to provide a pathway for the cruise ship industry to resume normal operations.
In turn, DeSantis credited himself for kicking off the national dialogue on CDC powers.
“The only reason you even started seeing any of these discussions is because we brought the lawsuit,” DeSantis said. “Had we not brought the lawsuit, you would have continued to see status quo and nothing would have ended up happening.”
The courtroom victory makes good on DeSantis’ promise to resume cruise ship operations in the summer.
Speaking to reporters, the Republican Governor contended the no-sail order is unreasonable given the return of normal operations at other venues such as theme parks and airports.
“Somehow, this one industry was being shut down by an agency that didn’t really have the legal authority to do that,” DeSantis said.
Opposing the federal restrictions has become a high-profile political issue for DeSantis, who frequently blasted the CDC for mothballing cruise ships during the pandemic.
The cruise industry is key to Florida’s tourism industry, which is the largest section of the state’s economy.
Along with raising the legal arguments, DeSantis and Moody have focused heavily on the economic impact of the industry shutdown.