After President Joe Biden tried to deflect blame for rising COVID cases onto Republican governors like Florida's GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis, DeSantis fired back, telling the president pointedly to "do your job."
"Why don't you do your job?" DeSantis told reporters on Wednesday, saving his heated remarks for the very end of an 18-plus-minute news conference. "Why don't you get this border secure?
"And until you do that, I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you."
DeSantis' remarks came after Biden lashed out at Republican governors in the two largest red states for their COVID-19 response amid the rise of the delta variant, saying DeSantis and Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott have demonstrated "bad health policy."
"We need leadership from everyone, and 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 told White House reporters Tuesday.
"I say to these governors, please help. If you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives."
DeSantis, in his remarks, declared that he'll keep standing in the way of Biden and his "lockdown policies," calling Florida a "free state."
"We can either have a free society, or we can have a biomedical security state," DeSantis said. "I can tell you, Florida, we're a free state.
"People are going to be free to choose to make their own decisions about themselves, about their families, about their kids education, and about putting food on the table."
With Biden taking some criticism for his pandemic and border policies, DeSantis vowed to stand in the way of lockdowns whose value is far from universally accepted.
"Joe Biden suggests that if you don't do lockdown policies, then you should 'get out of the way,' but let me tell you this: If you're coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I'm standing in your way," DeSantis said. "I'm not going to let you get away with it.
"If you're trying to deny kids a proper in-person education, I'm going to stand in your way, and I'm going to stand up for the kids in Florida. If you're trying to restrict people, impose mandates, if you're trying to ruin their jobs and their livelihoods and their small business, if you are trying to lock people down, I am standing in your way,
"And I'm standing for the people of Florida."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki denied Biden's words were political, though they zeroed in on Republicans who have resisted lockdown polices, mask mandates and restrictions singling out the unvaccinated.
"That wasn't a partisan evaluation or assessment," Psaki told reporters. "That was an assessment of what isn't happening that would help protect people's lives and save people's lives.
"We are going to keep calling that out."
Though DeSantis had kind words for Biden during the response to the Miami-area condo collapse earlier this summer, the governor said he needed to answer Biden's COVID-19 comments as an attack on his Sunshine State constituents.
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