Joe Biden's Threat to Restrict Travel to Florida Is Stupid, Illegal and Counterproductive but That Doesn't Mean He Won't Do It

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

The story first surfaced earlier in the week when it was made known that the big tough guy in the White House was going to show Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who was boss. DeSantis, of course, is famous for being a Republican governor who, unlike Georgia’s Brian Kemp and Arizona’s Doug Ducey, was able to deliver his state for President Trump. A brief aside here. If you are a Republican governor presiding over a unified state government and you can’t deliver your state for the president of your party, you just need to be honest about it and change your voter registration. DeSantis is also well known for using science and commonsense, not fear and superstition, set public health policy in the Sunshine State. The worst possible thing for the Biden team is for Florida to continue to show that it can carry on a “business as usual” policy in regards to the virus and still be safer than California or New York (increasingly New York’s failure to do anything other than killing the elderly and infirm is being disguised by considering New York State and New York City as different entities for virus reporting).

The subject was first leaked to the media in what looks like a shot-across-the-bow on February 10. From the Miami Herald:

The Biden administration is considering whether to impose domestic travel restrictions, including on Florida, fearful that coronavirus mutations are threatening to reverse hard-fought progress on the pandemic.

Two federal government officials underscored that no policy announcements are imminent, and that any move to restrict travel or impose new health measures would be taken in partnership with state and local governments.

“No decisions have been made, but we certainly are having conversations across government,” the White House official said, pointing to current guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging Americans to stay home and only travel for essential reasons.

“This is a war and we’re at battle with the virus. War is messy and unpredictable, and all options are on the table,” the official said.

The message was clear. Either DeSantis could get with the program or Biden’s team would shut down Florida’s economy. DeSantis was not terribly happy about it.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday lashed out at the Biden administration, promising that the state would strongly and swiftly oppose any attempts to block Americans from traveling to the Sunshine State.

DeSantis’ comments were in response to a Wednesday story by McClatchy that quoted an unnamed White House official saying the administration was considering imposing domestic travel restrictions, including on Florida, to stem the transmission of a new Covid-19 variant that is rapidly spreading in the state.

DeSantis, a Republican, called consideration of travel restrictions “absurd” and a “political attack on the people of Florida.” He said it would be “ridiculous” to impose curbs on domestic travel while relaxing restrictions on the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Any attempt to restrict or lock down Florida by the federal government would be an attack on our state, done purely for political purposes,” DeSantis said at a press conference in Port Charlotte, Fla. He also questioned the need for any type of restrictions given Florida’s middle-of-the pack ranking in terms of Covid-19 fatalities.

The governor also added: “I think it would be unconstitutional, it would be unwise and it would be unjust.”

There is an alleged account of a phone call between Biden, DeSantis, and a couple of notorious COVID pimps circulating on the internet. It may not be true, but it should be. If the Strzok-Page texts could be converted into a dramatic reading, so, too, could this. Please take the time to look it over.

The idea that the federal government has the authority to prevent the physical movement of American citizens between states is nonsense, and it is highly unlikely that it survives a court challenge or the independent actions of hundreds of thousands of US citizens. My colleague Bonchie posted on the topic earlier, Joe Biden Targets Ron DeSantis, but It Will Only Make Him Stronger. If by some Dred Scott/Korematsu/Roe/Obergefell type of madness the Supreme Court allowed us to descend into an era of “show me your papers” policing, I would hope it would set the stage for a massive campaign of civil disobedience directed at the federal government and any state or local entity that cooperated with such a profoundly un-American concept as citizens being prevented from traveling from one state to another based on nothing more than the fiat of a government so unsure of itself that it continues to station as many federal troops in Washington, DC, as the US Army added to Baghdad at the height of The Surge (see Panem Is Very Afraid and No One Knows Why).

I hope it is no secret to anyone that I consider the public policy response to the Wuhan or China virus that now hides behind the all sciencey-sounding moniker of COVID-19 as one of the biggest frauds (see CDC Determines Two Face Masks On Mannequins Will Work Equally Well On Other Dummies) and failures in the history of the Republic. When the history of this is written, the responses mandated by the public health bureaucracy and the craven politicians who are held hostage by them will be seen as effective…and damaging…as any of the pre-Civil War territorial compromises on slavery. We have been forbidden to go to church because of the virus. Children are not being educated though we are actually paying more money to the same failing school systems. Funerals and family gatherings have been broken up by the police. Parents have been arrested for taking their kids to empty playgrounds. At the same time, we’ve seen Andrew Cuomo lionized for ordering thousands of people infected with the virus into long term care facilities where he knew or should have known they would give life-threatening or fatal infections to the oldest and most frail citizens of New York (tons of coverage of Cuomo here).

One prays that Biden has enough vestigial judgment and commonsense in that lump of pudding he thinks is a brain to back away from the precipice to which he’s being led. Once he issues the order to prevent or curtail US citizens traveling to or from Florida, everything we thought we knew about this country is over, and what happens next is owned by Joe Biden.