Gov. DeSantis fires back at Biden’s vaccine rules

President earlier called GOP governors ‘cavalier’ for resisting mandates

Gov. Ron DeSantis says President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses is unconscionable and says the state of Florida will fight it.

WASHINGTON – Gov. Ron DeSantis says President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses is unconscionable and says the state of Florida will fight it.

The governor made his comments while speaking to the Palm Valley American Legion post near Ponte Vedra Beach. He was there to talk to the members about Sept. 11 and the role of local veterans and first responders.

After President Joe Biden called Republican governors “cavalier” for resisting his call for far-reaching new federal coronavirus vaccine requirements he hopes will curb the surging delta variant, DeSantis reacted.

“I would say, generally, that when you are taking action that’s unconstitutional and threatening the jobs of people in my state. Many many thousands of jobs. I am standing for them. We are going to protect their jobs against federal overreach.” DeSantis said. “This is a guy who criticizes the state of Florida for protecting parents’ rights. Yet here he comes from Washington, D.C., instituting an unprecedented (mandate). That’s not leadership.”

DeSantis says the vaccine mandate for employees of companies with 100 or more employees will drive people out of work. He referenced hospital workers who could end up without a job.

DeSantis believes the vaccine mandate will lose in court but he says there needs to be action now. He should nobody should lose their job based on the president’s mandate.

I think the problem I have with Joe Biden more than anything is that guy does not take responsibility for anything,” DeSantis said.

Biden make his remarks about the governors without mentioning any names while visiting a public school just a short drive from the White House to make the case for new rules he set out a day earlier that could impact 100 million Americans.

“I am so disappointed that particularly some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities,” Biden said during a visit to Brookland Middle School in northeast D.C. “This isn’t a game”

Asked on Friday about potential legal maneuvering to stop enforcement of the new vaccine requirements, Biden shot back: “Have at it.”

Other Republicans, including Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp, and some union officials, also say Biden is overreaching his authority. Biden said they were shirking their responsibility to young Americans.

The new federal vaccine requirements would affect private-sector employees as well as health care workers and federal contractors.

First lady Jill Biden, who joined the president for the school visit, echoed Biden's message that getting more Americans vaccinated was essential to keep schools open and helping working parents.

“We owe them a promise to keep their schools open as safe as possible,” the first lady said. “We owe them a commitment to follow the science. We owe them unity so that we can fight the virus, not each other.”

Speaking at the White House Thursday, Biden sharply criticized the tens of millions of Americans who are not yet vaccinated, despite months of availability and incentives.

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us," he said, all but biting off his words. The unvaccinated minority “can cause a lot of damage, and they are.”

There have also been strong words of praise for Biden’s efforts to get the nation vaccinated from the American Medical Association, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable — though no direct mention of his mandate for private companies.

The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. And the roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.

Biden is also requiring vaccination for employees of the executive branch and contractors who do business with the federal government — with no option to test out. That covers several million more workers.

New4Jax talked Friday with area businesses about how they planned to respond to the vaccine mandate. Most, such as banks, some manufactures and the JEA are waiting to see how this plays out in the upcoming weeks.

Biden has encouraged COVID-19 vaccine requirements in settings like schools, workplaces and university campuses. On Thursday, the Los Angeles Board of Education voted to require all students 12 and older to be fully vaccinated in the nation’s second-largest school district.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, said in late July it was requiring all workers at its headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas, as well as its managers who travel within the U.S., to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Oct. 4. But the company had stopped short of requiring shots for its frontline workers.

CVS Health said in late August it would require certain employees who interact with patients to be fully vaccinated by the end of October. That includes nurses, care managers and pharmacists.

In the government, several federal agencies have previously announced vaccine requirements for much of their staffs, particularly those in healthcare roles like the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Pentagon moved last month to require all service members to get vaccinated. Combined, the White House estimates those requirements cover 2.5 million Americans. Thursday’s order is expected to affect nearly 2 million more federal workers and potentially millions of contractors.

About the Authors:

Jim Piggott is the reporter to count on when it comes to city government and how it will affect the community.