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White House turns up the heat on DeSantis and Abbott over masks

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White House press secretary Jen Psaki delivered harsh critiques Tuesday of Govs. Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott's decisions to ban mask and vaccine mandates in their respective states.

According to President Joe Biden's coronavirus response team, roughly one-third of all new cases in the country last week came from Florida and Texas.

"Seven states have both a statewide ban on mask mandates and a prohibition on school districts from requiring masks in schools, and some states have even banned businesses and universities from requiring workers and students to be vaccinated," Psaki told reporters at Tuesday's White House briefing. "In fact, the most extreme of these measures is in Texas, where you can be fined, a teacher can be fined if they ask a student if they are vaccinated, or if they ask unvaccinated students to wear masks."

FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICT DROPS MASK MANDATE FOLLOWING THREATS FROM DESANTIS

Psaki proceeded to pose a "fundamental question" to those in the briefing room: "What are we doing here?"

"You'll hear the president talk a little bit about this later this afternoon. His message is going to be, we're all in this fight together, whether it's Democratic or Republican governors — and I will note most Republican governors are doing exactly the right thing and advocating for and taking steps to advocate for more people to get vaccinated," she continued. "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, whether they are teachers, university leaders, private sector leaders, or others who are trying to save lives."

Later in Tuesday's briefing, Psaki pointed to comments she made on the topic the day prior.

"At a point in every leader's life, they have to make a decision about whether they're going to abide by public health guidelines to save people's lives or whether they're going to be guided by politics," the top White House spokeswoman stated. "And I will let you all be the judge of that. Public health guidelines are pretty clear as it relates to the benefit of vaccination, as it relates to the benefit of masking for communities that are not vaccinated."

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You can watch Tuesday's entire briefing below.

Later in the day, Biden himself also piled on DeSantis and Abbott while delivering remarks on the current state of the pandemic.

"Make no mistake, the escalation in severe cases is particularly concentrated in states with low vaccination rates. Just two states, Florida and Texas. They account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases in the entire country. Just two states," the president said. "Look, we need leadership from everyone. If some governors are not willing to do the right thing, then they should allow businesses and universities who want to do the right thing, to be able to do it. I say to these governors, please help. If you're not going to help, at least get out of the way of the people trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives."

You can watch Biden's remarks in their entirety below.

Washington Examiner Videos

Tags: News, Joe Biden, Jen Psaki, Florida, Texas, Ron DeSantis, Greg Abbott, Coronavirus

Original Author: Christian Datoc

Original Location: White House turns up the heat on DeSantis and Abbott over masks

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