Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called President Joe Biden’s latest plan to threaten people’s jobs if they don’t get vaccinated was “fundamentally wrong” and vowed to fight those mandates.
On Thursday the President announced several stringent vaccine requirements, including a plan to require businesses with over 100 people to ensure their workers are vaccinated or tested weekly.
Biden’s proposal also requires vaccinations for federal employees, federal contractors and health care workers. Biden said his plan would affect 100 million people, about two-thirds of all workers.
Much like earlier in the year, when DeSantis crisscrossed the Sunshine State announcing new COVID vaccination sites, DeSantis was holding a press conference promoting a new COVID monoclonal antibody treatment site in Pasco County when reporters asked the Governor to react to early information about Biden’s plan circulated prior to the President’s speech.
“How could we get to the point in the country where you would want to have someone lose their job because of their choice about the vaccine or not? I mean, look, some folks have reasons to do — maybe they’re making the wrong decision — but to put them out of work and not let them earn a living because of this? I just think that that’s fundamentally wrong,” DeSantis told reporters.
He continued that he believed tactics to coerce people into getting vaccinated by threatening mandates and firing and other business consequences, ultimately backfire. He said the more coercive the tactics, the more people it alienates.
“I don’t think this helps to get people to do it (get vaccinated),” he said.
Later he said, “The people that have had the higher vaccination rates in businesses have been ones that have had programs where they’re educating people, where they’re providing them all the information, showing some of the consequences.”
“I do not believe that people should lose their jobs over this issue, and we will fight that. If they try to do that through a rule like the Department of Labor, I don’t think they have the legal authority to do that, but we obviously would want to support protections for people who are just trying to earn a living,” DeSantis continued.
Instead of the Department of Labor, Biden seems to be looking to implement this mandate through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is responsible for workplace safety. However, there is much disagreement between business owners, politicians, and attorneys on whether OSHA has the authority to force private companies to require vaccines.
Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody is on the side that does not believe Biden has the authority. She said in a tweet earlier today, “@JoeBiden does not have the legal authority to force vaccines on millions of Americans. His proposal is outrageous and unlawful. I will be closely watching these developments and taking any and all action within the authority of my office to stop this unprecedented power grab.”
During his speech announcing his plan, Biden said the vaccination issue is “not about freedom or personal choice,” but protecting public health.
“It’s about protecting yourself and those around you,” Biden said. “The people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love.”