Joe Biden to Ron DeSantis: ‘If you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way’
Ron DeSantis and Joe Biden at Surfside. Image via AP.

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Biden called bans against mask and vaccine mandates the 'worst of all.'

The White House issued a warning to Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday after Florida saw a record number of new hospitalizations related to COVID-19.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11,515 patients were hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida in one day. Meanwhile, DeSantis continued resisting lockdowns and vaccine requirements after issuing an executive order Friday banning school mask requirements.

Since before Florida fully opened on a statewide level in September, DeSantis has railed against “draconian” orders from other states and local officials. Recent legislation and executive orders, including Friday’s order and a ban on vaccine passports, have sought to curtail government and businesses’ pandemic responses in ways DeSantis says erodes personal freedom from government overreach.

However, DeSantis’ response drew criticism from President Joe Biden during a speech Tuesday in which he called the current outbreaks “a pandemic of the unvaccinated” and some states’ responses “disappointing.” He called getting vaccinated apolitical, but called on leaders to step up and require vaccines.

He called bans against mask and vaccine mandates the “worst of all,” both of which DeSantis has issued.

“If some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it,” Biden said. “I say to these governors, please help. If you’re not going to help, at least get out of the way of people who are trying to do the right thing.”

When asked by name, Biden criticized DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for making personal decisions detrimental to public health.

“I believe the results of their decisions are not good for their constituents, and it’s clear to me and to most medical experts that the decisions being made like not allowing mask mandates in school are bad health policy,” Biden said.

Biden’s speech followed a briefing from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in which she similarly derided DeSantis when asked by reporters. Most Republican governors are doing the right thing, Psaki said, including advocating for vaccinations.

“But if you aren’t going to help, if you aren’t going to abide by public health guidance, then get out of the way and let people do the right thing to lead in their communities, whether they are teachers, university leaders, private sector leaders or others who are trying to save lives,” Psaki added.

Ahead of Biden’s speech, DeSantis’ press secretary called Psaki’s comments “strikingly unprofessional” in a statement to Florida Politics and suggested she “brush up on the Constitution and learn more about the role of a state Governor.” The press secretary, Christina Pushaw, pointed to DeSantis’ decision to prioritize vaccinations among the state’s older populations first despite federal advice otherwise. That advice was issued under the Trump administration.

“If he had ‘gotten out of the way’ as Psaki suggested, and let the CDC run our state, many of those lives might have been lost — as we saw with the tragic situation in New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where the age-adjusted death rates are significantly higher than in Florida, despite their governors ‘abiding by public health guidance,'” Pushaw said.

DeSantis makes decisions based on data and empirical evidence, she continued. The Governor has frequently cited studies showing the detrimental health impacts of lockdowns.

“The CDC should consider doing the same, because right now, their constant flip-flopping is destroying Americans’ trust in the federal public health establishment.

Psaki also dismissed DeSantis’ repeated claims that the state is undergoing a seasonal wave as it did last summer.

“The data just doesn’t back that up,” she added.

At the conclusion of his press conference, a reporter asked Biden why he doesn’t call DeSantis.

“To say happy birthday? What?” Biden responded. “He knows the message. We had a little discussion when I was down there. He knows the message. He’s decided.”

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Ed

    August 3, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    Hey Joe Biden,

    If you aren’t going to do anything about stopping the flood of illegal immigrants crossing the Southern Border, then at least “get out of the way” and let someone, anyone stop the flow. Over one million so far and you are on your way to two million by the end of the year. Absolutely disgusting. Joe you and your sidekick are incompetent.

    • PeterH

      August 4, 2021 at 12:24 pm

      In 2017 Then President Donald Trump asked Congress to develop laws to further strengthen the USA borders.
      Republican Lindsey Graham formed a bipartisan committee which formulated a series of new and and convincing laws to strengthen border control agents abilities to turn away all illegal border crossers.

      Biden is following the existing laws that have been on the books for decades.

      If you don’t like our immigration laws WRITE TO A REPUBLICAN CONGRESSPERSON! Write to Rick Scott or Marco Rubio.

      If you’re an authentic conservative join us at the Lincoln Project or other Never Trump affiliates. Today’s Republican Party is an embarrassment and must be destroyed before it can be rebuilt!

      • Fred Garred

        August 4, 2021 at 2:45 pm


  • Andrew Finn

    August 3, 2021 at 9:02 pm

    Here I have to support President Biden. When the man is right – he is right. Unfortunately Emperor DeSantis will not listen to reason (at least not until it is too late) and Floridians will pay the price. I wish there was away for the President to override what an idiot does on the state level and make a Federal Mandate to try to save us. Any ideas Joe ??

  • Ericka

    August 3, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    No one asking in the press conference about personal freedom, pcr tests used that were 86%inaccurate to quarantine and support lock down. No questions about tracking primary deaths from covid. No real truth. All mandatory governance. He did nothing for those 9 million who are facing homelessness, people at the borders or all of those suffering from deaths due to suicide, starvation, financial devastation and business closures. Masking chikdren when non verbal communication is 80% developmental. And psychologically damaging. He wants socialism. Communism. Mandates. First it starts with NY. You cant go to the grocery store or gym with a vaccination. What about those who have had it and have antibodies. We dont count because there is no money for big pharma and no compliance. Covid is not about a pandemic its about control. Offer 100 dollars and get ur shot or u could die. Red flags everywhere! 1 % chance to die of covid. God god!!!!! All of this. We dont even have truth about primary deaths!!!!

  • Quellie Hartloff

    August 4, 2021 at 3:48 am

    Well my opinion is he says he’s concerned about people’s freedoms and rights well to me then if wearing a mask to protect people from covid is invocation of our rights then forcing one to wear a SEATBELT or not to smoke in public is also against our rights so if that’s for our safety and others health then enforcing people to wear a mask during a pandemic to me is a matter of a health crisis and responsibility of the government to protect everyone by enforcing people to take whatever precautions necessary to control it. Not to allow people to holler about their rights when it comes to saving lives

    • Tom

      August 4, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      No please read and listen, it’s a skill.
      He says parents decide if the kids, in which the science says they don’t transmit nor are affected by Covid,
      See it’s the science, he reads it.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 4, 2021 at 4:20 am

    Yo Duffus Desantis is willingly slaughtering Floridians! Now Duffus Desantis has targeted our children. Get out of the way Duffus Desantis! There are good and decent Floridians that shall make appropriate decisions based on truth and facts to protect the common good! Get out Duffus Desantis!

    • Ed

      August 4, 2021 at 6:07 am

      Sonja with more words of wisdom from the trailer park.

      • Charlotte Greenbarg

        August 4, 2021 at 8:55 am

        More precisely from the state hospital! Look her up on google. 🤪🤡😜

    • Tom

      August 8, 2021 at 8:06 am

      Meds, meds, meds. You need them desperately.

  • Robert

    August 4, 2021 at 8:25 am

    LOL. Biden made it sound like the Governor banned masks or something. IF you’re scared, go put your mask and do forget to get your 5 vaccines. At least one of each.

    • Tom

      August 4, 2021 at 2:30 pm

      Robert, that’s because the media says so, so the Manchurians have to repeat the talking points. The elites repeat what they are told. Aristocrat party.

  • zhombre

    August 4, 2021 at 8:59 am

    The big news out of Disney’s Magic Kingdom is the reopening of the Hall of Presidents after a long hiatus. The reopening featured the debut of animatronic Joe Biden. Walt Disney World News Today reported the story (h/t Loree Hinderaker) along with several photos and the video below. In the Disney lineup animatronic Joe stares vacantly in slightly more lifelike fashion than the character who struggles daily in the East Room of the White House to read the scripts running through his teleprompter.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 4, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Ed and Charlotte stfu. You two are the problem! Get the truth and facts! Ps Charlotte Martha said hello.

    • Ed

      August 4, 2021 at 11:30 am

      I love it when a woman talks dirty to me. Still a lunatic like your friends Nikki and Rebekah.

  • UPick

    August 4, 2021 at 10:00 am

    Biden, hows your buddy Coumo doing right now? I mean he’s done a bang up job right? WE should give him an Emmy. Wait…

    • Tom

      August 4, 2021 at 12:42 pm

      Upick, that was his initial Attorney General pick. What a joke.
      I’m sure FP is working on that story now. LMAO.

  • ross

    August 4, 2021 at 10:52 am

    Glad to see DeSatan heeded the call and flew to Las Vegas! He is a true RINO, and a DUMBO to boot. So much for local control, Ronnie, limiting local efforts to control Covid-19 through unconstitutional executive orders. Floridians are getting sick and flocking to hospitals; but heck, that’s good for the hospital’s business. Let them eat ice cream in the ICU, so long as it’s not Ben and Jerry’s and doesn’t clog their respirator! What a boorish clown wanna be President butthole buddy of Losers who pretends to be Florida’s Governor!!!

    • Tom

      August 4, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      You are an idiot Manchurian but hey thanks to Governor Ron even haters like you enjoy your liberty, freedom in Florida. Go by Cuomo you fool. Enjoy.

  • Ron Ogden

    August 4, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    Taking an injection poses serious health risks. Ask me how I know. When it comes to balancing risks in my life, I will do the balancing, not Sleepy Joe the stumble man, or a bunch of Bolsheviks like or statewide nutcases such as populate this blog. I will do the balancing and I will make the choice. Ron DeSantis is protecting my human right to do that. Florida will reelect him next year with best wishes for his future in national leadership–not national autocracy like the proggies we see now, but leadership.

  • Tom

    August 4, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    POTUS was mad, DeSantis blocked buyers of Hunters coloring books. You know the ones the liberal Manchurians refuse to acknowledge As they are in a imposed media cocoon. What a joke. Just awful.

  • Tom

    August 4, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Robert, that’s because the media says so, so the Manchurians have to repeat the talking points. The elites repeat what they are told. Aristocrat party.

  • Renate Smith

    August 4, 2021 at 5:05 pm

    I am extremely concerned that my two grandson ages4&6 have to go to school soon.who will protect them there if no masks are worn, I also feel that all adult in public places like shools need to be vaccinated. This is my love of my Grandchilden talking here ,no politics.

    • Rita Graham

      August 4, 2021 at 7:27 pm

      Why can’t they wear masks? DeSantis is giving people the choice.

  • Callie J

    August 6, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    Go get em’ Joe!! I love it when someone attempts to deflate
    DeSatan’s monstrous ego.

Comments are closed.


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