Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized “lockdown” politicians spending time in Florida to flee their own COVID-19 policies at a Monday press conference.
A reporter asked DeSantis about the recent spotting of Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in Miami Beach during her state’s record-high surge in COVID-19 cases. DeSantis held the conference at the Broward Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale to promote monoclonal antibody treatment for COVID-positive patients and urge the federal government to allow states to purchase the drugs directly from manufacturers.
“If I had a dollar for every lockdown politician who decided to escape to Florida over the last two years I’d be a pretty doggone wealthy man, let me tell you. I mean, congress people, mayors, governors, you name it,” DeSantis said.
“It’s interesting, though, the reception that some of these folks will get in Florida because I think a lot of Floridians say ‘Wait a minute you’re bashing us because we’re not doing your draconian policies, yet we’re the first place you want to flee to basically be able to enjoy life.'”
The Florida governor estimated that “a half-a-dozen” governors placing COVID restrictions in their states were spotted in Florida. He expressed his gratitude that his state is a place for people to come to in order for their freedoms to be protected and “have a state worth living in.” (RELATED: Here’s A Running List Of How Well Our Leaders Follow Their Own Coronavirus Restriction Rules)
“I’m happy that Florida’s a place where people know they can come and they can live like normal people and make their own decisions … people know they can come, they can go get a beer, they’re not gonna have to show papers, they’re not gonna have to do anything,” he said.
“If you look at July 2020 to July 2021, we led the country in where people were wanting to come to and I think that’s a result of protecting people’s freedoms and making sure that we had a state worth living in,” the governor said.
He criticized White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci for “singling out” restaurants in reference to his Sunday recommendation that fully vaccinated individuals steer clear of indoor dining amid the surge of Omicron variant cases.
The governor also called several states’ implementations of vaccine passports “a failure” in preventing the spread of the virus and said they “discriminate” against those choosing not to receive the vaccine.
“How big of a failure have vaccine passports been? If vaccine passports succeeded, you would not see a lot of the stuff that you’re seeing in a lot of states that implemented them,” DeSantis continued. “All they served to do was discriminate against people based on an individual choice, created a two-tiered society and they are moving to update that to say in some parts that you need a third shot to be able to do.”
In April, Florida permanently banned vaccine passports after the state House of Representatives approved SB 2006 with a 76-40 vote. DeSantis issued an executive order to ban all forms of vaccine documentation earlier that month.