Speaking on Tuesday, President Biden attacked Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas GOP governor Greg Abbott, ranting that they “aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic” and if they “aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way. … Use your power to save lives.”
Biden’s nasty attack on the two governors ignores one salient fact: while he castigates them for their policies, their states are positioned far down the list when it comes to death rates from COVID-19.
As Statista reported on Wednesday, the states with leading death rates from COVID-19 are led by Democratic governors: New Jersey and New York. Texas ranked 25thout of 50 states; Florida ranked 26th. Per 100,00 people, New Jersey had 300 people who had died; New York had 276. Texas had 184; Florida had 182.
Florida has a larger percentage of elderly people than New York, and the elderly population is the most susceptible to the virus. Statista reported, “In 2019, there were 4.5 million adults aged 65 and older living in Florida, out of a total population of 21.5 million.” That amounts to 21% of the population. New York had 3.3 million adults aged 65 and older out of a population of 19.5 million, a percentage of 17%.
Biden stated, “The escalation of cases is particularly concentrated in states with low vaccination rates. Just two states, Florida and Texas, account for one-third of all new COVID cases in the entire country. Just two states. Look, we need leadership from everyone. If some governors aren’t willing to do the right thing to beat this pandemic, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing to be able to do it. I say to these governors: Please help, but if you aren’t going to help, at least get out of the way of the people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives.”
The Biden administration has made a concerted effort to attack DeSantis, apparently daunted by poll showing him as a front-running candidate to seize the 2024 GOP presidential nomination.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made false statements as she attacked him, snapping, “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.”
As The Daily Wire reported, DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw fired back, “By dismissively ignoring Governor DeSantis’ efforts to protect vulnerable Floridians, Psaki is the one playing politics with the pandemic.”
Pushaw pointed out to The Daily Wire that DeSantis had over 50 vaccine-specific events, appearing in 27 counties around the state, issued over 100 tweets to highlight those efforts, and that the efficacy and value of vaccines had been mentioned specifically at least 1,600+ times in over 100 different public appearances.
On July 22, DeSantis staunchly defended his position that he would not impose a mask mandate on schoolchildren in the upcoming school year, saying, “There shouldn’t be any coercive mandates on our schools,” and adding, “We certainly will not have any mandates on students and on parents in the upcoming school year.”
DeSantis warned that the federal government might try to impose mask mandates, asserting, “There’s been talk about potentially people advocating at the federal level imposing compulsory masks on kids, we’re not doing that in Florida, okay? We need our kids to breathe; we need our kids to be able to be kids.”
An ABC News White House correspondent asked White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki about DeSantis’ remarks at a press briefing. Psaki, who has young children of her own, said that “as a parent,” DeSantis’ position was “greatly concerning” to her, adding, “That puts kids at risk.”