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Biden says DeSantis, other Republican governors are undermining COVID response

The president accused the governors of practicing the "worst kind of politics."
Credit: AP
President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the economy in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — President Joe Biden voiced his frustrations with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, accusing them of undermining his COVID-19 response.

On Thursday, the president said the two, as well as other Republican governors, were practicing the "worst kind of politics" by resisting a federal vaccine mandate for large employers. DeSantis has threatened fines for cities and counties that mandate vaccines for their workers.

"It's putting the lives of citizens of their states - especially children - at risk, and I refuse to give in to it," Biden said.

Back in April, Florida lawmakers passed SB 2006 – banning businesses, educational institutions and government entities from making people show proof of vaccination to enter. In May, DeSantis would sign that bill into law.

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The way it's written, it doesn't explicitly say a government agency cannot tell one of its own employees to get vaccinated and appears more directed at individuals who walk into the government office for services. However, DeSantis has made clear he believes it covers both.

Biden also pointed at the hypocrisy of republican governors attacking him for his vaccine mandate when the states they govern have, in his words, some of the strictest vaccine requirements for students.

This isn't the first time the president has had some choice words for DeSantis. Last month, the two had a back and forth over COVID safety responses when DeSantis signed an executive order banning mask mandates in schools.

At the time, Biden called the governor's decision "bad health policy." DeSantis responded by saying he would be "standing" in Biden's way if he came after "the rights of parents in Florida."