Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave an impassioned explanation to a reporter on Thursday as to why he vehemently opposed pandemic-related mandates for the past year, even as governors in blue states continued to impose them to no great effect.
The Republican governor was in the city of Brandon, Fla., at a Honda dealership — the name of the city chosen to reflect on the increasingly popular anti-President Biden phrase “Let’s Go, Brandon!” — to sign a packet of anti-coronavirus mandate legislation following a special session of the GOP-controlled legislature, when a reporter asked about the bills as they allegedly pertain to conservative principles.
“First of all, this idea that, somehow, conservatism is about, like, local school boards. It’s the United States of America,” DeSantis insisted, as several in the audience applauded.
Absolute 🔥🔥🔥 from America's Governor, Ron DeSAVAGE @GovRonDeSantis
Watch this. Believe me. pic.twitter.com/HZTE4DArnt
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) November 18, 2021
The governor then proceeded to give a Civics 101 lesson, describing the founders’ constitutional vision of the relationship between states and the federal government.
“The states are the primary vehicles to protect peoples’ freedoms, their health, their safety, their welfare in our constitutional system. What Biden is doing is not constitutional,” the governor insisted. “There has never been a federal vaccine mandate imposed on the general public.
“I hear people talk about, ‘yeah, they do things in the military. When I was in the military, they used to give me all kinds of stuff,'” DeSantis continued. “But that’s much different than regulating the military and then imposing it on civilians in society. It’s never been done before, it’s not…they don’t have the power to do it, there is no federal police power. States have the…police power.”
DeSantis went on to explain why he overruled local governments in their effort to impose COVID mandates and “lockdown businesses” while also keeping “kids out of schools.”
“You’re damn right I overruled them, they were wrong,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, you don’t have the right to do wrong, and if I had not stepped in last year and made sure that these local governments couldn’t lock you down…couldn’t fine…we had kids in school last year because of me, not because of them. That’s just the bottom line.”
The popular governor, who has been repeatedly mentioned as a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, went on to explain that the state, and parents, would have suffered immeasurably if he had allowed schools to be locked down during the height of the pandemic last year. He also said if Florida communities would have been allowed to shut down businesses, the state “would have one of the highest unemployment rates” in the country as well.
“We had to stand up for people’s liberties, their livelihoods, their right to work, people’s right to own a business, and it was the right thing to do. But what Biden is doing…he even admitted he does not have the authority to” impose a vaccine mandate, alluding to a similar admission by White House press secretary Jen Psaki as well.
“And so, the question is, do we actually have a Constitution that constrains people like Biden, or, is it just when he loses patience he can do whatever the hell he wants to?” DeSantis said. “No, I’ll take the Constitution, thank you very much.”
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