Ron DeSantis Defends Delta Variant Response, Says Biden Is Singling Out Florida

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis defended his response to the Delta variant and blamed President Joe Biden for not doing enough to combat the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S.

In what was supposed to be an update on Florida's economy, a press conference Wednesday with DeSantis in attendance quickly turned to the topic of the Delta variant that has been raging through the state.

"Joe Biden has taken to himself to single out Florida over COVID," DeSantis said. "This is a guy who ran for president saying he was going to 'shut down the virus' and what has he done? He's imported more virus from around the world by having a wide-open southern border."

DeSantis added: "He's facilitating. Whatever variants are around the world, they're coming across that southern border. He's not shutting down the virus, he's helping to facilitate it."

According to WESH, the governor also said Biden wants kindergarteners to wear masks in school, hoping to enforce that rule.

"Well I can tell you in Florida, the parents are going to make that decision," DeSantis said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), whose state is experiencing record COVID hospitalizations, to President Biden:

“Why don’t you do your job? Why don't you get this border secure? And until you do that, I don’t wanna hear a blip about COVID from you, thank you.” pic.twitter.com/lqyTV1l9ou

— The Recount (@therecount) August 4, 2021

Florida was reporting a seven-day average of new cases of 17,024 on August 1, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On Friday, the state reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases, which was the highest single-day number since the start of the pandemic.

Florida also recently reported a record 11,515 COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Biden has mentioned Florida in several instances, the most recent being on Tuesday. Politico reported that the president urged DeSantis to "get out of the way" of people who are trying to "do the right thing."

Some state officials are passing laws ... that forbid people from doing the right thing," Biden said, referencing Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott as well. "I say to the governors, 'Please help. If you're not going to help, get out of the way of the people that are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.'"

Still, DeSantis stood firm on Wednesday. "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."

He advised Biden: "Why don't you do your job? 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," before thanking his cheering audience and leaving the podium.

According to White House Pandemic Response Coordinator Jeff Zients, Florida and Texas now account for at least one-third of newly reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

Newsweek reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Ron DeSantis slams Biden on COVID
Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis defended his response to the Delta variant and blamed President Joe Biden for not doing enough to combat the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. In this photo, DeSantis speaks to the media about the cruise industry during a press conference at PortMiami on April 08, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images