President Joe Biden continued his administration’s war of words with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over coronavirus restrictions by pretending he didn’t know who the governor was when asked a question by a reporter.
“When I asked the president his reaction to @RonDeSantisFL saying he is ‘getting in the way’ over COVID restrictions. Pres. Biden responded “Governor who?… that’s my response.” NBC News White House Correspondent Kelly O’Donnell tweeted Thursday.
On Tuesday, Biden criticized DeSantis as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, accusing them of getting in the way of fighting the virus in their states.
“Florida and Texas account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country,” Biden said Tuesday. “Just two states. Look, we need leadership from everyone. If some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, 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 aren’t going to help, please get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing.”
The next day, DeSantis responded to the comment by arguing he is standing in the way of policies he feels don’t benefit his state.
“If you’re coming after the rights of parents in Florida? I’m standing in your way,” DeSantis said. “If you’re trying to deny kids a proper in-person education, I’m gonna stand in your way and stand up for the kids in Florida. If you’re trying to restrict people and impose mandates and ruin their jobs and livelihood, if you are trying to lock people down, I am standing in your way. I am standing for the people of Florida.”
DeSantis and the Biden administration have been engaged in several tussles over the last few weeks over the governor’s opposition to face mask mandates, and at one point White House press secretary Jen Psaki accused DeSantis of putting children “at risk” by not requiring them to wear masks in schools.
Earlier this week, Psaki referenced rising coronavirus cases in Florida and said that DeSantis is putting politics over public health.
DeSantis went viral on social media Wednesday following a press conference where he told Biden he doesn’t want to hear “blip” about the coronavirus from him until he secures the border and prevents unvaccinated and infected migrants from being released into the United States.
“Why don’t you do your job?” DeSantis said. “Why don’t you get this border secure? And until you do that, I don’t wanna hear a blip about COVID from you, thank you.”
DeSantis added, “This is a guy who ran for office saying he’s going to shut down the virus. And what has he done? He’s imported more virus from around the world by having a wide-open southern border.”