Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) responded to reports of the Biden White House considering imposing travel restrictions on the state, telling reporters that it would be a “political attack against the people of Florida” as well as “unconstitutional,” “unwise,” and “unjust.”
“We will oppose it 100 percent,” DeSantis said Thursday in reaction to the reports of the Biden White House considering domestic travel restrictions on states such as Florida and California due to fears of spreading variant cases of the Chinese coronavirus.
“It would not be based in science. It would purely be a political attack against the people of Florida. And it’s unclear why they would even try talking about that,” the governor said.
DeSantis highlighted the seeming hypocrisy of the administration, noting it would impose a ban on Americans who seek to “travel freely throughout our country while allowing illegal aliens to pour across the southern border unmolested.”
It “would be a ridiculous, but very damaging, farce,” DeSantis noted.
He is not the only leader to make such a comparison. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) have also observed the discrepancies in the Democrat-led White House’s tactics, which is also reportedly considering requiring domestic travelers to take a coronavirus test before traveling.
“Tests for Americans before domestic flights? By dismantling immigration enforcement, the Biden administration invited a wave of illegal immigrants — and they’re allowed in without COVID [Chinese coronavirus] tests,” Cotton said.
“To Biden, illegal immigrants come before Americans,” he added:
Tests for Americans before domestic flights?
By dismantling immigration enforcement, the Biden administration invited a wave of illegal immigrants—and they're allowed in without COVID tests.
To Biden, illegal immigrants come before Americans. https://t.co/ld8sOyiOwP
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) February 8, 2021
Grassley made a similar observation days later.
“Can’t fly into USA w/o showing negative test for virus but Pres Biden will let ppl who illegally walked across the border do so w/o testing. Is that protecting our citizens?” Grassley asked:
Can’t fly into USA w/o showing negative test for virus but Pres Biden will let ppl who illegally walked across the border do so w/o testing. Is that protecting our citizens?
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) February 9, 2021
DeSantis added that a Florida travel ban would be “unconstitutional; it would be unwise, and it would be unjust.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) shot back at the reports as well, agreeing that the travel restrictions would have no fundamental basis in science.
“Instead, it would only serve to inflict severe and devastating economic pain on an already damaged economy,” Rubio assessed, urging the administration to instead “fast-track additional vaccines to the state instead of attempting to cripple our economy.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Florida has reported 343 cases of the U.K. variant, which is said to be more contagious than the original strain.
“No decisions have been made, but we certainly are having conversations across government,” a White House official said, according to the Miami Herald. The official added that “all options are on the table.”
DeSantis has continued to come under fire from progressive critics for taking a different approach to the virus than many blue state governors, maximizing personal and economic freedom for Florida residents while focusing on protecting the most vulnerable. As data shows, Florida seems to be faring just as well as its blue state counterparts without heavy lockdown restrictions or a statewide mask mandate.
Florida has reported 35 cases of the Wuhan virus per 100,000 in the last seven days (or 52,622 cases total), according to the CDC’s February 10 data. The CDC data, which counts New York City separately from the Empire State as a whole, shows New York State reporting 39.8 cases per 100,000 in the same time frame, or 30,771 cases. Separately, New York City has reported 51.1 cases per 100,000 in the last seven days, or 30,066 cases despite more stringent mitigation measures.