White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told outspoken Republican Governors Ron DeSantis of Florida and Greg Abbott of Texas to “get control” of the Delta variant or “get out of the way.”
During the regular press briefing on August 3, Psaki said that the Biden administration had offered specific assistance to both governors, implying that both had refused federal help.
Psaki mentioned that COVID case counts from Florida and Texas account for one-third of current cases. Addressing the two GOP governors, she said, “if you aren’t going to help” and abide by public health guidance, they should “let people do the right thing” in their states. She said that teachers, university administrators, and private sector leaders are “trying to save lives,” implying that the governors are not.
Psaki was asked what she meant by “get out of the way” and stated that the governors should not “ban” masks or ask for vaccination status. She said that leaders must choose between following guidelines or following politics.
She said of DeSantis that President Biden might speak to him directly, but only if he “thought it would make a difference.” She swiftly added that she did not anticipate Biden contacting DeSantis.
DeSantis’ office responded with a statement advising Psaki that she might want to “brush up on the Constitution” and learn about the role of a governor. The information continued that because of freedom, nearly one thousand Americans are moving to Florida each day. Citing the comparative death rates from COVID in New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, the governor’s office drew a contrast with his policies and the shifting advice given by federal agencies.
Abbott has pointed out the inconsistency of the “draconian controls” the federal government wishes to impose on citizens while allowing illegal immigrants to move freely across our border while infected with COVID. The federal government has implemented a policy of transporting infected illicit immigrants from the border to locations within the country and dropping them off without informing local or state officials. Abbott issued an executive order to curtail the practice and immediately sued the Biden administration in federal court.