President Joe Biden trolled Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday over the governor's vow to stand in the way of federal COVID-19 lockdowns and mandates imposed on Floridians.
When asked at a press conference outside the White House: "DeSantis, who was using your words about 'don't be in the way,' he's saying, 'I am in the way to block too much interference from the federal government.' Your response, Mr. President?"
Biden shot back with a seemingly tongue-in-cheek statement to suggest his higher authority: "Governor who?"
Biden smiled and the press corps laughed audibly with him.
After Biden pointed a finger at DeSantis and Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott for the largest red states' COVID-19 infection rise amid the delta variant, DeSantis shot back, telling the president to stay out of Florida's business.
"Why don't you do your job?" DeSantis told reporters Wednesday, saving his heated remarks for the 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 leveled the claim that the increases in COVID cases in the large red states were due to COVID-19 infection from immigrants crossing across the border illegally, ostensibly acting as superspreaders.
"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."
The comment that evoked DeSantis' anger came from Biden the day before
"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."
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