(USA Features) Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida clapped back at White House press secretary Jen Psaki after the latter criticized his handling of the coronavirus pandemic following news that new Delta variant cases are on the rise there.
During her daily press briefing on Monday, Psaki told reporters that the Biden administration is “ready and available” to give federal assistance, “whether that is Florida or any other part of the country.”
Her comments came on the heels of news that the state broke a pair of COVID-19-related records over the weekend — the highest number of new cases reported in a single day and the higher number of hospitalizations per capita, Fox News reported.
“Twenty percent of the cases we’re seeing are in Florida,” Psaki said.
“There are steps and precautions that can be taken, including encouraging people to get vaccinated, encouraging people to wear masks, including allowing schools to mandate masks and allowing kids to wear masks, which is not the current state of play in Florida,” she added.
But Psaki seems to have at least partially misrepresented Florida policy; DeSantis has made wearing masks optional for Florida students. He has not prohibited kids from wearing them in school.
“So, you know, at a certain point, leaders are going to have to choose whether they’re going to follow public health guidelines or whether they’re going to follow politics,” she continued.
“And we certainly encourage all governors to follow the public health guidelines.”
The governor’s office fired back at the press secretary, noting DeSantis’ mask choice for parents and their kids as well as pointing out that he has held some 50 vaccine events urging residents to get vaccinated.
“By dismissively ignoring Governor DeSantis’ efforts to protect vulnerable Floridians, Psaki is the one playing politics with the pandemic,” DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw told Fox News via email
“The White House should be more concerned about the flip-flopping of the CDC, which is inadvertently promoting vaccine hesitancy with their confusing, contradictory public communications,” she continued.
“Stating that vaccinated people should wear masks and socially distance is implying that the vaccines do not change anything, which is the wrong message for our federal government to be promoting,” she added.