In a Thursday night speech, President Joe Biden publicly marked the first anniversary of widespread coronavirus-related shutdowns, and despite touting his belief that Americans will likely enjoy a return to greater normality by July 4, he warned that if vigilance is not maintained, onerous restrictions could be reinstated.
In response to Biden’s cautionary words, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) defiantly pledged to residents of his state, “I can tell ya: that ain’t happening in Florida. We are not going to let him lock down Florida,” as Breitbart reported.
The governor’s words came on the heels of the Biden address in which the president ordered that by May 1, all adults in the United States be made eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but in which he also stated that “this is not the time to let up,” lest a return to more draconian mitigation measures become necessary.
DeSantis’ reaction came during an appearance at a news conference publicizing the establishment of a pop-up vaccination site in Brevard County, where 1,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson jab would be made available for each of the four subsequent days, as the Orlando Sentinel reported.
In slamming Biden’s speech, DeSantis opined, “To even contemplate doing any time of lockdown, honestly it’s insane,” adding:
We like the fact that people are able to work here. We like the fact that we’ve been able to save thousands, thousands of businesses and save people’s livelihoods and we love the fact that parents have the right to send their kid to school in person.
DeSantis has been steadfast in his refusal to reimpose the sort of restrictions that have crippled so many other parts of the country economically, educationally, and otherwise, declaring during his State of the State address earlier this month:
Friends, legislators, Floridians, lend me your ears: We will not let anybody close your schools, we will not let anybody take your jobs and we will not let anybody close your businesses!
As Breitbart reported separately, Florida has fared notably better in recent days with regard to its per capita cases of COVID-19 when compared to states such as New York, where restrictions are far more stringent, a fact made all the more impressive by the state’s status as one of the first to re-engage and re-open its economy.
With speculation already mounting about likely 2024 presidential contenders, DeSantis’ political stock has continued to appreciate within the GOP, due largely to his handling of the pandemic, as The Hill noted. A survey conducted this month revealed that the governor came in a very close second to former Vice President Mike Pence with Republican voters in a hypothetical primary contest that did not include Donald Trump.
Given that DeSantis’ unwavering approach to keeping his state open so closely mirrors the sentiments of millions of Americans who are ready to put COVID lockdowns permanently in the rearview mirror, it is no surprise that his star is indeed on the rise.