Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stood by his decision to counteract local government COVID-19 mandates, saying, “You’re d— right I overruled them.”
Additionally, the legislation prohibits private businesses in the state from enforcing a vaccine mandate unless they grant exemptions for religious or health reasons or prior recovery from COVID-19, The Hill reported.
The bills came, in part, in response to President Joe Biden’s private employer vaccine requirements.
A reporter asked DeSantis at Thursday’s signing ceremony if overruling local mandates was a violation of the conservative principle that the government that governs best is the one in closest proximity to the people.
DeSantis disagreed with the framing of the question, arguing the police power — encompassing health, safety and welfare — first rests with the state governments in the U.S. constitutional form of government.
“This idea that somehow conservatism is about, like, local school boards — it’s the United States of America! Not the united school boards or county commissions of America,” he said.
Governor @RonDeSantisFL was on FIRE yesterday in BRANDON, FLORIDA!
— Kayleigh McEnany (@kayleighmcenany) November 19, 2021
“So the states are the primary vehicles to protect people’s freedoms, their health, their safety, their welfare in our constitutional system,” DeSantis continued.
“What Biden is doing is not constitutional. There has never been a federal vaccine mandate imposed on the general public.”
DeSantis pointed out that the president imposing such a directive on civilians is different than him directing the military to get vaccinated.
“There’s no federal police power. States have the police power. … From a constitutional perspective, it is worlds, worlds, apart,” he said.
In further response to the reporter’s question, DeSantis said, “Some people say, ‘Hey, these local governments wanted to lock down businesses. They wanted to force mandates. They wanted to keep the kids locked out of school.’ You’re d— right I overruled them on that because they were wrong.
“The fact of the matter is, you don’t have the right to do wrong.”
DeSantis recounted it was his decision at the state level that kept Florida kids in school in 2020, when many schools in other parts of the nation remained closed.
Additionally, if he had followed the path of strict lockdowns, it would have hurt the state’s students for years to come, as well as the ability of Floridians to make a living.
“So people can say, ‘Is it the job of somebody that’s elected to look out for the liberties of everyone in the state?’ Or do you just say, ‘Hey, if someone’s violating your freedom, we shouldn’t do anything.’”
DeSantis said he chose the former course of upholding liberty.
He concluded by saying, “The question is, do we actually have a Constitution that constrains people like Biden? Or is it just when he loses patience, he can do whatever the hell he wants to? No, I’ll take the Constitution, thank you very much.”
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — a lawyer and son of the late U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy — argued on a recent episode of “Tucker Carlson Today” that all the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights have been violated by government entities in the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, except the Second Amendment for the right to bear arms.
“We have to love our freedom more than we fear a germ. We have to,” Kennedy said. “Even if this was the deadly disease that they say it is, there’s worse things than death.
“We’re lucky that there was a whole generation of Americans in 1776 who said, ‘It would be better to die than to not have these rights written down.’ And they gave us that. They gave us that gift of that Bill of Rights.”
Kennedy concluded, “Our kids deserve to have the same Bill of Rights that our parents gave us. And people need — whatever their fears are — they need to put those aside and demand that we get those things back.”
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