Florida Gov. DeSantis slams Biden over pace of school reopenings: 'Pathetic failure of leadership'

DeSantis: Florida’s push for ‘focused protection’ of elderly ‘mitigated’ mortality

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis joins ‘Life, Liberty & Levin’ to discuss his state’s, Trump’s response to COVID-19 pandemic,

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accused President Biden on Sunday of a “pathetic failure of leadership” for the current pace of his nationwide push to reopen schools during the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican lawmakers slammed the Biden administration last month after White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the president’s goal was for more than 50% of schools to reopen for in-person learning at least one day a week within his first 100 days in office. Biden later clarified that his goal was for a majority of public schools to reopen five days a week.

DeSantis, who reopened schools in the early days of the pandemic, said Florida’s approach has been a “huge success” and argued there is “no scientific evidence or data” to support ongoing closures. The Florida governor accused Biden of prioritizing special interest groups over the well-being of students.

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“This is just purely being subservient to a special interest, and Biden has been one of the worst in it, because when he says, ‘My goal is to get 50% of the schools in person in 100 days,’ we’ve already had that,” DeSantis said during an appearance on “Life, Liberty and Levin.” “His goal should have been yesterday to get everybody back in school, but he can’t do that because he doesn’t want to upset the teachers’ union. It’s a pathetic failure of leadership to not stand up for these kids and these families.”

Biden has taken steps to accelerate the reopening of schools. The president’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package includes $130 billion in funding for public schools to safely reopen during the pandemic. This week, Biden directed states to prioritize teachers in their vaccination campaigns.

Despite the efforts, public health experts have questioned whether Biden’s goal is attainable. In January, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Biden’s goal to reopen schools “may not happen because there may be mitigating circumstances.”

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DeSantis, who last month described CDC guidelines for reopening schools as a “disgrace,” warned of a generational impact to young students if closures do not end.

“The kids that are the most impacted and the families that are the most impacted are the low-income, blue collar middle class kids,” DeSantis said. “The wealthy sons and daughters of elected officials and other powerful people, they’re sending their kids in person in private schools but they’re not affording that right to the folks that need to go to the public school system.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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