House Democratic Co-Leader Evan Jenne blasted Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, suggesting the state effort to block the federal COVID-19 vaccine mandate is little more than a testosterone-fueled political stunt.
“This is not about guaranteeing anyone’s freedoms,” Jenne told reporters. “This is not about governmental policy. This is about two men having a measuring contest that they should have in private. Instead, they’re letting it spill out in front of the full public view.”
Jenne’s remarks chide DeSantis’ ongoing feud with President Joe Biden. The pair spar often on issues ranging from immigration policy to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The political sparks though are seemingly invaluable, resulting in a conflict that boosts the Republican Governor’s status among conservatives.
Pending former President Donald Trump‘s intentions, DeSantis is widely considered a 2024 presidential frontrunner.
Among other priorities, Republican leaders are spearheading an effort to divorce the state from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The proposal — among the bolder items on the agenda — aims to thwart Biden’s vaccine mandate. Biden tasked the federal agency with the mandate’s rollout.
Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Fentrice Driskell, lament the measure as costly, impractical and performative.
“Gov. DeSantis I’m sure will be long gone before this were to ever to actually take place in Florida,” Driskell said. “We all know that he has ambitions for 2024 running for President.”
For his part, DeSantis and Republican leaders argue Biden weaponized OSHA. The Special Session, they assert, is needed to defend unvaccinated workers who may lose their job under the mandate.
Jenne, however, argues the Special Session is another campaign stunt for the Republican Governor. He criticized DeSantis for not calling a Special Session to address struggles within the state’s unemployment system last year.
“This is all political theater now at this point,” Jenne said. “Unfortunately, our Legislature has been co-opted for the national presidential stage for that election coming up in three years. But that’s why we’re here. That’s why we’ve been forced to come back.”