White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has developed a reputation for being willing to speak frankly, and address disinformation and obstruction from far-right media and politicians. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was not spared from this, as COVID-19 cases boom in his state. Psaki addressed his fight to prevent life-saving preventative measures from being taken in his state.
DeSantis has banned mask mandates for schools in Florida, even going so far as to say that if any official defied him by enacting a mask mandate for their school district, he’d withhold their wages. This comes as hospitals in the state are forced to request hundreds of additional ventilators from the Federal government, and with increasing numbers of children admitted to hospitals and ICUs.
WH Press Sec. Psaki responds to Gov. DeSantis' (R-FL) financial penalties for school officials who violate his ban on mask mandates:
"If you are not interested in following the public health guidelines to protect the lives of people in your state … then get out of the way …" pic.twitter.com/Ea4kOMqX23
— The Recount (@therecount) August 10, 2021
Repsonding to DeSantis’ decisions during a press briefing, Psaki said that if the Governor of Florida doesn’t want to make decisions to protect the people of his state himself, he should at least get out of the way and not prevent local officials from doing so.
According to the Washington Post, a spokesperson for DeSantis said that even mask mandates with opt-out clauses are a problem, because they may require a doctor’s note, and “it should be the parents’ choice.” However, she says that DeSantis’ administration would probably not pursue any financial penalties for officials in districts that allow parents to freely opt-out of a mandate.
Some local district officials have pushed back, saying that saving lives is worth any penalty imposed, and that mask mandates will be necessary for starting the school year in-person safely.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com