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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has slammed Democrats in Washington, D.C., for pushing the “COVID theater” for just two years to get infected with the coronavirus in recent weeks, including some members of the Biden administration who have attended an elite dinner in Washington.
“Some people will say, ‘Oh, they’re hypocrites.’ Yes, they are, but that’s not the point,” DeSantis said at a press conference in South Florida on Tuesday when asked about the COVID outbreak in DC.
“The problem is, if they thought their policies were really necessary and those mitigations were really effective, they would stick to them,” DeSantis added. “They don’t respect it because they know it’s all about politics and control.”
DeSantis has come under heavy criticism from Democrats and liberal media pundits for his reluctance to impose COVID-19 mask and vaccine mandates and lift emergency restrictions much sooner than blue states . Without naming names, he called out Democrats who fled to Florida during the winter months.
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“If I had a dollar for every lockdown politician who escaped their own policies to come to our free state, I’d be set for life,” DeSantis said.
Democratic Representatives Eric Swalwell and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez were among those spotted without masks in Miami Beach during the winter break and the Democratic Governor’s Association also held a retreat in Palm Beach in February, according to Business Insider.
DeSantis’ comments come amid a severe coronavirus outbreak in DC, which stemmed in part from the chic white-tie Gridiron dinner held April 2 for the first time since the pandemic with about 630 guests, including members of Congress, Cabinet and members of the media – many of whom were seen mingling without masks at the landmark event.
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Among the attendees who tested positive after the event – which had a vaccine requirement – included Attorney General Merrick Garland, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, Jamal Simmons, the director communications from the Vice President, Representative Adam. Schiff, D-Calif., Valerie Biden Owens, the president’s sister, first lady Jill Biden’s press secretary Michael LaRosa and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Separately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, also tested positive last week.
Pelosi was quick to support masked mandates with fines for lawmakers who violated them, social distancing and proxy voting in the House of Representatives with the onset of the pandemic. But with the widespread availability of vaccines and boosters, restrictions have eased in recent months to mark President Biden’s first official State of the Union address to the entire Congress.
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On Tuesday, DeSantis maintained his approach to lax coronavirus restrictions.
“I just want to be very clear that as long as I’m sitting in the chair I’m sitting in, no Floridian will be restricted, mandated, or locked up in any way,” DeSantis said.