TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday that he would oppose any domestic travel restrictions to or from Florida amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think it would be unconstitutional, it would be unwise and it would be unjust," DeSantis said during a news conference in Port Charlotte.
The announcement came after a report that President Joe Biden's administration is considering travel restrictions, fearful that coronavirus mutations are threatening to reverse hard-fought progress on the pandemic.
DeSantis said restricting the right of Americans to travel freely throughout the country "while allowing illegal aliens to pour across the southern border unmolested would be a ridiculous but very damaging farce."
"So we will oppose it 100%," DeSantis continued. "It would not be based in science. It would purely be a political attack against the people of Florida."
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., sent Biden a letter Wednesday calling any such travel restrictions for Florida "reckless and economically harmful."
"Instituting a travel ban, or any restriction of movement between the states, would be an outrageous, authoritarian move that has no basis in law or science," Rubio wrote. "Instead, it would only serve to inflict severe and devastating economic pain on an already damaged economy."
Rubio went on to write that "forbidding Americans from traveling across state lines will not force any strain of COVID-19 to cease."
"It would instead starve Florida's businesses of much needed tourism dollars, keep family and friends apart, and set an unprecedented use of power on the American people," he said.
Rubio suggested Thursday on Twitter that such an approach would be contradictory to what Biden said last year, a month after former President Donald Trump issued a travel ban for China.
Day after Trump issued a #Covid travel ban on #China Joe Biden accused him of “hysteria, xenophobia, and fear mongering”— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 11, 2021
The following month he said banning travel from any part of the world will not stop coronavirus.
But now he is considering restrictions on #Florida travel pic.twitter.com/MuCulpT6Hz
"Banning all travel from Europe -- or any other part of the world -- will not stop it," Biden said in a March 2020 tweet.
Rubio urged Biden to "fast track additional vaccines to the state instead of attempting to cripple our economy."