Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has vowed to fight President Joe Biden's COVID-19 vaccine mandate on employers and workers.
The Republican governor on Thursday said Florida will challenge Biden’s mandate in federal court and through legislation, Politico reported.
"Let's not have Biden come in and effectively take away — threaten to take away — the jobs of people who have been working hard throughout this entire pandemic," DeSantis said during a news conference in Fort Myers. "I am offended that a police officer could potentially lose their job."
The governor's comments came three days after Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order barring all COVID-19 vaccine mandates in Texas by any entity, including private employers.
DeSantis said Thursday that Florida-based lawsuits against federal vaccine mandates will be filed in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Biden early last month announced plans to issue a vaccine mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees and federal workers.
Many Republicans, including DeSantis, have said vaccination should be a personal choice, and people who have become naturally immune to COVID-19 should be exempt from the mandate.
"I just think it's fundamentally wrong to be taking people's jobs away, particularly given the situations that we see ourselves facing with the economy," DeSantis said, according to Politico.
DeSantis has become a potential contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination since the pandemic began as he has opposed COVID-related restrictions such as vaccine passports, mask mandates, and lockdowns.
Many Florida school districts and cities have gone along with the governor's orders. The city of Gainesville rescinded its vaccine mandate last month after facing threats from DeSantis.
More than 200 city employees filed a lawsuit against Gainesville in state circuit court, Politico said. DeSantis said some of the city’s police officers were about to be fired.
"They were not given the ability to work from home, they didn't get to Zoom in to protect us and kind of work to protect the public on Zoom, you got to be out there," DeSantis said. "They were there the entire time."
The governor has been battling in-state school districts that defied his order, which includes docking the salaries of school officials who implement mask requirements without an opt-out policy for parents.
The Biden administration has provided more than $500,000 in financial assistance to school officials.
The Florida Department of Health recently issued a $3.57 million fine against Leon County, which fired 14 employees after it required hundreds of workers to get vaccines.
An attorney for the county said it was prepared to defend the mandate.
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