The feud between Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden escalated this week. Biden pretended not to know who DeSantis was, and the Republican governor of Florida blasted the president's forgetfulness.
The recent friction between DeSantis and the White House increased this week when White House press secretary Jen Psaki attacked DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for not following "public health guidelines," in regard to not obeying the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's updated guidelines about wearing face masks. Last month, DeSantis signed an executive order banning mask mandates in public schools.
"But if you aren't going to help, if you aren't going to abide by public health guidance, then get out of the way and let people do the right thing to lead in their communities," Psaki said on Tuesday. "Whether they are teachers, university leaders, or private sector leaders or others who are trying to save lives."
The DeSantis administration responded to Psaki's criticisms, "She might want to brush up on the Constitution and learn more about the role of a state governor. As it turns out, freedom matters."
"Every day, nearly a thousand Americans relocate to Florida — mostly fleeing from the ever-changing, contradictory COVID restrictions pushed by federal bureaucrats on lockdown states," the DeSantis administration told Fox News. "By contrast, Governor DeSantis keeps up with the latest research and makes data-driven decisions. If he had 'gotten out of the way' as Psaki suggested, and let the CDC run our state, many of those lives might have been lost — as we saw with the tragic situation in New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, where the age-adjusted death rates are significantly higher than in Florida."
DeSantis himself fired back on Wednesday when he asked the Biden administration, "Why don't you do your job? Why don't you get this border secure?"
"And until you do that, I don't wanna hear a blip about COVID from you, thank you," DeSantis lambasted Biden. "This is a guy who ran for office saying he's going to shut down the virus. And what has he done? He's imported more virus from around the world by having a wide open southern border."
Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, revealed last month that at least 87 Border Patrol agents from just two sectors tested positive for COVID-19, and 27% of unaccompanied children deported also tested positive.
"Florida is a free state, and we will empower our people," DeSantis said in a recent fundraising email. "We will not allow Joe Biden and his bureaucratic flunkies to come in and commandeer the rights and freedoms of Floridians."
On Thursday, NBC News White House Correspondent Kelly O'Donnell asked Biden about the remarks made by DeSantis, to which he facetiously replied, "Governor who?"
The squabble continued on Friday when DeSantis, governor of the fourth-most populated state with over 21 million residents, torched Biden.
"I guess I'm not surprised that Biden doesn't remember me," DeSantis said at an event at Chipola College in Marianna, Florida. "I guess the question is 'What else has he forgotten?'"
"Biden's forgotten about the crisis at our southern border, I can tell you that," DeSantis continued to mock Biden's forgetfulness. "Biden has forgotten about the inflation that's biting the budgets of families all throughout our country. Biden has forgotten about the demonstrators who are fighting for freedom down in Cuba. Biden's even forgotten about the Constitution itself, as we saw with what he did with this moratorium."
"I can just tell you, I'm the governor who protects parents and their ability to make the right choices for their kids' education," DeSantis hammered Biden. "I'm the governor who protects jobs and education and businesses in Florida by not letting the federal government lock us down. I'm the governor who answers to the people of Florida, and not the bureaucrats in Washington."
DeSantis: “I’m not surprised that Biden doesn’t remember me . . . The question is what else has he forgotten?” https://t.co/uO3yy12Hbj— Arthur Schwartz (@Arthur Schwartz)1628275936.0
This isn't the first time that Biden has been mocked for his forgetfulness. In June, at the G7 summit in England, where Biden suffered from several mental lapses and gaffes, world leaders laughed at the U.S. president for his absent-mindedness.
The ongoing rivalry between DeSantis and Biden could be a potential preview of the 2024 presidential election. DeSantis was voted the most popular Republican 2024 candidate in a straw poll at the Western Conservative Summit in June. At CPAC in February, the Florida governor was voted the favorite presidential candidate if former President Donald Trump isn't a candidate.