Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office responded Tuesday after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki sent him a message during a press briefing.
DeSantis addressed the White House during a press conference on Tuesday.
“I think that they really believe government should rule over the parents’ decisions and I think the parents’ decision in this regard should ultimately be what is done,” DeSantis said. “The idea that the federal government would get involved in that I think obviously would be very inappropriate.”
During another press conference on Wednesday, DeSantis was pressed further on the situation.
“We believe this is a decision for the parent,” DeSantis said.
While the federal government has discussed a federal mandate for schools, he believes that all parents should be able to choose what is best for their children. He stated that if the federal government decided to intervene, he would fight for the rights of the people.
#BREAKING: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) responds to news that the White House is looking for ways to pay Florida educators who defy his ban on mask mandates. pic.twitter.com/EVfXEcsLlU
— Forbes (@Forbes) August 11, 2021
The White House has stated that it is looking into ways to assist Florida schools that are facing financial repercussions for defying the state’s ban on mask mandates.
At a daily press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration was looking to support schools in the southern US state that “do the right thing” when it came to masking, praising Florida school leaders for their “courage” and “boldness” in seeking to “protect students and keep schools safe and open.”
Psaki’s remarks on Tuesday came after days of controversy in which Florida Governor Ron DeSantis threatened to withhold the salaries of school leaders who defied the governor’s earlier executive order prohibiting school districts from issuing mask mandates during the fall semester.
“We are continuing to look for ways… for the US government to support districts and schools as they try to follow the science, do the right thing and save lives,” Psaki said.
“I would note what is publicly available and knowable is that the American Rescue Plan funds that were distributed to Florida to provide assistance to schools have not yet been distributed from the state level,” she said. “They’re federal funds and… they’re under federal discretion, so they just need to be distributed to these schools.”
When asked about the issue during his own press conference on Tuesday, Biden said he’s checking to see if the president has the authority to intervene in state mask bans.
He said the anti-mask efforts by states including Florida and Texas were “totally counterintuitive and, quite frankly, disingenuous.”
As of Monday, superintendents in at least two Florida counties, Leon and Alachua, had announced plans to enforce mask mandates, directly defying a Florida Department of Health emergency rule mandated by DeSantis that school districts allow parents to decide whether their children will wear masks.