Gov. Ron DeSantis says President Joe Biden is “obsessed” with masking children in schools after the President leveled another admonishment against Republican governors blocking local mask orders.
On Fox News’ “Hannity” Wednesday evening, DeSantis and host Sean Hannity said Biden is attacking GOP governors over mask policies to distract from the crisis in Afghanistan. DeSantis pointed to other crises, too, like the rising number of immigrants at the border and inflation.
“He is obsessed with having the government force kindergarteners to wear masks all day in school,” he said. “In Florida, we believe that that’s the parents’ decision. Joe Biden thinks the federal government should come and overrule the parents and force these young kids to wear these masks.
“You’ve got to wonder, where are your priorities that you’re so obsessed with this issue and so obsessed with taking away parents’ rights, and you’re letting Afghanistan burn, our border burn and so many other things in our country fall to pieces,” the Governor continued.
Earlier in the day, Biden told reporters he had instructed Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona to take additional steps to protect children in schools, even legal action if appropriate.
“We’re not going to sit by as governors try to block and intimidate educators protecting our children,” Biden said.
DeSantis, who has likened masking children to muzzling them, and the Florida Department of Health have issued rules against mask mandates in public schools amid the state’s fourth COVID-19 surge. Alachua and Broward county schools implemented mandates in defiance of the state, drawing the State Board of Education to call those policies unlawful. Despite that, Hillsborough and Miami-Dade counties’ school boards voted to implement mask mandates Wednesday, as promoted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Biden called interim Broward Superintendent Vickie Cartwright on Friday to voice his support for the district’s policies. That followed the President’s announcement that his administration was researching ways to intervene when states prevent local governments from requiring masks in schools.
And the President predicted he would have “a lot to say” about children in schools next week.
Speaking in Pembroke Pines on Wednesday, DeSantis said the state’s preemption of school mask mandates isn’t personal but, instead, a matter of state law. He pointed to a new law dubbed the Parents’ Bill of Rights. The law empowers parents — rather than government — to direct a child’s upbringing on educational and health care issues.
Any insinuation otherwise, DeSantis suggested, is self-serving.
“If you make it about me, you get on CNN,” DeSantis said. “They’ll like you if you do that.”
Earlier this month, Biden and DeSantis went back-and-forth over the Governor’s executive order banning masks mandates in schools. After Biden told DeSantis and other Republicans to “get out of the way” of local governments trying to combat the virus, DeSantis responded, telling the President that he was “standing in your way” and “I don’t want to hear a blip about COVID from you.” Biden’s quip in return: “Governor who?“