Gov. Ron DeSantis vows action on the state level to oppose recent COVID-19 vaccine mandates from President Joe Biden.
Saying Biden was “acting outside of the Constitution,” DeSantis on Friday vowed he was “going to have the Legislature involved as well” to “fight back and offer protections.”
“You can’t just sit there and hope some lawsuit is going to succeed. You have a responsibility to act. And so we will be acting in the state of Florida to provide protections for people. People should not be cast aside because they make a medical decision for themselves. They should not lose their job. They should not be unable to put food on the table just because they made a different decision than the powers that be are demanding that they make,” DeSantis said during an appearance in Northeast Florida.
DeSantis sees the vaccine mandate opposition as “important much beyond this particular issue,” leading him to pose a rhetorical question.
“If the federal government can get away with doing this,” DeSantis asked, “what’s going to come next?”
DeSantis, speaking at a 9/11 observance event, framed his resistance to Biden around the military oath he took ahead of his own commission as an officer.
“When I served in the Navy, I remember very distinctly taking an oath as a commissioned officer,” DeSantis said in Palm Valley ahead of remarks commemorating 9/11. “Your number one responsibility was to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
“That oath that I took, that many of you took when you served in the military, when you get elected to an office like Governor, you take the same oath to support the laws and the Constitution of both the state of Florida and the United States,” DeSantis said, adding that “sometimes you’re called upon to fight for it.”
“I think now is the time that we’re going to do that. When you have a President like Biden issuing unconstitutional edicts against the American people, we have a responsibility to stand up for the Constitution and fight back,” DeSantis added.
DeSantis returned to this theme later in the day, saying in Holiday that Biden’s action was simply him having a “hissy fit.”
DeSantis’ comments offer the latest in a series of back-and-forth attacks between the Governor and the White House, with Biden vowing twice in 24 hours to undermine Republican governors who stand in his way, alluding to DeSantis, but not directly mentioning him.
“School officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their Governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their jobs,” Biden said Thursday, regarding moves like Florida’s to block districts from mask mandates. “Talk about bullying in schools. If these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my powers as President to get them out of the way.”
Florida has vowed to defund school districts in an amount equal to school board members’ salaries in wayward districts, but the U.S. Department of Education will backfill those funds.