Ron DeSantis mocks Joe Biden as a 'lockdowner', says Florida is 'focused on lifting people up' amid Covid-19

The GOP governor, who came under serious attacks from Democrats recently over handling of the pandemic, called Florida a 'free state' during an interview on Fox


                            Ron DeSantis mocks Joe Biden as a 'lockdowner', says Florida is 'focused on lifting people up' amid Covid-19
Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Sunday, February 14, said his state was “focused on lifting people up” amid the coronavirus pandemic, while those still observing lockdowns are “putting people out of business”. Florida has the fourth-highest death toll with nearly 29,000, only after California, New York and Texas.

Speaking in an exclusive interview to Sunday Morning Futures on Fox, the Republican governor said: “There's a whole bunch of things we’ve been doing for COVID, but at the same time, we’ve lifted our state up, we’ve saved our economy and I think we’re going to be first out of gate once we are able to put COVID behind the country.” He also mocked President Joe Biden as a "lockdowner", saying lockdowns "don't work" at the end of the day. 

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The governor, who is serving since 2019, said that by keeping the state open, he was allowing new entrepreneurs to come in to begin new ventures, besides new restaurants and hotels. “So people view Florida as the place where they can follow their dreams,” DeSantis said, stressing that “it is a free state.”

Dems, media have slammed DeSantis over coronavirus handling

DeSantis came under scathing attacks from Democrats in recent months over his dealing with the pandemic. In December, Florida Senate Democrats asked DeSantis to either lead the fight against the pandemic from the front or step back and allow the legislature to do it. They also accused the Republican of not being heard or seen since the presidential election of November 3 and politicizing the public health crisis.

Joseph Louis joins others in a protest asking the state of Florida to fix its unemployment system on May 22, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida. Unemployed hospitality and service workers who have not received unemployment checks held the protest demanding Florida Governor Ron DeSantis fix the unemployment system and send out their benefits. (Getty Images)

A week later, The Sunshine State’s congressional Democrats said DeSantis lacked transparency by being slow to release the weekly White House coronavirus task force reports and pausing the reporting of backlogged deaths caused by the virus temporarily. The attack came soon after the Orlando Sentinel sued the governor and his office for not being able to provide the task force reports, and after reporting by the South Florida Sun Sentinel that showed lack of consistency in Covid-19 death numbers soon after early voting started in the state. In late January, the Democrats slammed DeSantis yet again accusing him of mismanaging the vaccine rollout program.

During his interview with Maria Bartiromo, DeSantis acknowledged that during the first few months of the pandemic, “when everything was grinding to a halt, we had a lot of problems like anyone, particularly because tourism stopped.” He then added: “But since then we now have an unemployment rate that is significantly less than the national average.”

The labor department said in its monthly payroll report released on Friday, February 12, that the national unemployment rate came down to 6.3 percent in January from 6.7 percent in December but in Florida, the unemployment rate was at 6.1 percent in December, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

DeSantis said on Sunday that Florida saw a 25 percent rise in home sales year-over-year last year compared to 2019. “If you look at the top 25 places where new home construction is taking place at the highest levels, plurality of those are in Florida,” the 42-year-old governor said. “So we have a lot of great trends,” he added. DeSantis, who has been known to be a strong supporter of former president Donald Trump, then took a dig at states that were still observing the lockdown. “You have lockdown states that are putting people out of business. We focused on lifting people up,” he said.

'Florida is a free state'

“People view Florida as a place where they can follow their dreams. It is a free state,” DeSantis said, adding: “There’s a whole bunch of things we’ve been doing for COVID, but at the same time, we’ve lifted our state up, we’ve saved our economy and I think we’re going to be first out of the gate once we are able to put COVID behind our country.” DeSantis then hit out at the Joe Biden administration over reports that came out last week that a ban on domestic travel was being considered. He criticized the decision saying it was unconstitutional and would be a “political attack” on Florida. 

President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

Saying that Florida is among those states having a low mortality and infection rates, DeSantis said: “Every parent in Florida has the right to send their child to in-person instruction, every worker has a right to work and earn a living and put food on their table and every business has the right to operate and consequently, our state is doing very well compared to these other states in terms of education and economy.”

“States that are always held up by people in Biden’s administration, like New York, have way higher per-capita patients hospitalized for COVID right now. So there’s no basis in medical, there’s no basis in economics, there’s no basis in reality to do this except to punish a state that is doing it better than what his experts have recommended,” the GOP leader said. He then accused President Biden as a “lockdowner” and his advisers as “lockdowners”. 

“Lockdowns don’t work. We’ve demonstrated that. We’re not turning back, Maria, and they will not be able to get away with targeting Florida,” DeSantis said.