Joe Biden Says 'Governor Who?' in Response to Ron DeSantis' COVID Criticism

President Joe Biden blasted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Thursday when he was asked what he thought of DeSantis' comeback to Biden's criticism of Florida's COVID-19 response, by asking, "Governor who?"

On Tuesday, the president called out governors of hot-spot states, including DeSantis, for their refusal to implement COVID restrictions, including mask mandates in schools.

NEW: When I asked the president his reaction to @RonDeSantisFL saying he is "getting in the way" over COVID restrictions..Pres. Biden responded "Governor who?... that's my response"

— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) August 5, 2021

Biden urged DeSantis and other governors to "get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing," and DeSantis clapped back on Wednesday in a press conference.

"If you're trying to restrict people and impose mandates and ruin their jobs and livelihood, if you are trying to lock people down," he said, "I am standing in your way."

After being asked what he thought of DeSantis taking a stand, Biden said on Thursday in a press conference, "Governor who? That's my response."

On Wednesday, the Florida governor advised Biden to "do his job," referencing that the president should focus on controlling the southern border. "And until you do that, I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you," he said.

The DeSantis signed an executive order last week, stopping school districts from forcing students to wear masks despite CDC guidance, alleging he was protecting "parents' freedom to choose."

"He thinks that should be a decision for the government, well I can tell you in Florida, the parents are going to make that decision," DeSantis said.

"Leaders are going to have to choose whether they're going to follow public health guidelines or they're going to follow politics," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday.

The state of Florida currently accounts for one in five new cases of COVID-19 nationwide, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CBS News medical contributor Dr. David Agus said the COVID surge in Florida is due to the Delta variant, and because of public behavior.

"With low vaccination rates and ... going out without masks and in large groups, you're going to get significant spread of the virus, period," he said.

On Wednesday, In a tweet responding to DeSantis's remarks, Psaki noted that 23 percent of new U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations are in Florida and hopes DeSantis will join them in the fight against the pandemic.

23% of new COVID hospitalizations in the U.S are in Florida, and their hospitals are being overwhelmed again.

We are doing everything we can to help the people of FL, and they're stepping up by getting vaccinated – we hope @GovRonDeSantis joins us in this fight.

— Jen Psaki (@PressSec) August 4, 2021

And a reporter asked Psaki if Biden had spoken to DeSantis about COVID guidelines for the state of Florida. "If we thought it would make a difference," she answered, "I'm sure he would."

Newsweek reached out to DeSantis' Communications Office for comment but has yet to receive a response.

Update - 8/5/21 5:10 PM - this story has been updated with additional information.

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President Joe Biden referred to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as "Governor who?" after DeSantis criticized Biden for calling out the state of Florida amid Delta variant surges. WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 05: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks during an event on the South Lawn of the White House August 5, 2021 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images