"Let's not have Biden come in and effectively take away — threaten to take away — the jobs of people who have been working hard throughout this entire pandemic," DeSantis stated during a news conference in Fort Myers. "I am offended that a police officer could potentially lose their job."
The Republican governor, widely viewed as a potential 2024 presidential contender, announced he would seek to fight any Biden administration requirements through the courts and with legislation offered by the state Legislature.
"I know Biden is trying to force this on everybody," DeSantis declared at the press event . "One, I think it's your choice, I don't think you should get fired over this issue, and we want to protect people's jobs. But two, it is absolutely is going to have a negative impact on the economy,"
In early September, President Biden announced the development of rules that require companies with more than 100 employees to ensure their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19 or tested weekly, as well as mandates for federal workers and healthcare providers. The employer vaccine mandate could be finalized as early as next week, NBC reported .
DeSantis has consistently rejected Covid-related restrictions, including vaccine passports, mask mandates and lockdowns.
He has been cracking down on local public health orders, school district mask mandates, and pandemic protocols in the workplace. He has continued a months-long dispute with school districts that defied his order against mask mandates, including docking the salaries of school officials who implement mask requirements without an opt-out policy for parents. That fight has also brought in the Biden administration, which has provided more than $500,000 in financial assistance to school officials.
The Florida Health Department fined Leon County for violating the state's ban on vaccine mandates after the county fired 14 employees for not complying with its policy, DeSantis reported on Tuesday.
Florida over the summer was a hotbed for new infections as the Delta variant spread through the state. At one point, the state made up about 1 in 5 new coronavirus infections in the nation. Before the summer surge, Florida had the nation's 27th highest Covid-19 death rate; afterward, the state's death rate climbed to 10th highest, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
Many school districts and cities in Florida have bowed to the governor’s orders. The city of Gainesville rescinded its vaccine mandate last month after facing threats from DeSantis, and more than 100 employees filed a lawsuit against the municipality in state circuit court. DeSantis said some of the city’s police officers were about to be fired.
“They were not given the ability to work from home, they didn't get to Zoom in to protect us and kind of work to protect the public on Zoom, you got to be out there,” DeSantis said. “They were there the entire time.”