President Joe Biden’s federal mask rule for air travel is “irrational,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) said Tuesday from Fort Walton Beach, Florida, after announcing the state’s record-breaking domestic tourism numbers in 2021.
Florida saw roughly 118 million domestic visitors last year, the governor announced, pointing to the trend of Americans fleeing blue states with heavy-handed coronavirus restrictions. As a result, the state saw its highest hotel revenue ever in history — $17.3 billion. And last year, the total passengers at Florida’s 19 airports went up 80 percent compared to 2020. DeSantis said he believes that figure would grow even more if Biden got rid of the mask mandate on airplanes.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a news conference, Monday, Feb. 7, 2022, in Miami. (Marta Lavandier/AP)
“How ridiculous is it. They force you to wear a mask but if you put the mask under your chin and you sip on water for two hours, then somehow it’s fine and that’s ok. It’s irrational what they’re doing with the mask mandate, but I know there are definitely people who just don’t want to go through the hassle of having to be accosted about masks,” DeSantis said, adding that Biden should “absolutely reverse the mask mandate, federal mask mandate on air travel.”
“People have sued on it, nobody’s been successful. I think it’s an irrational policy at this point and hopefully they’ll be able — and how they treat these young children by forcing these two year olds,” he continued, speaking as a father of young children.
“It’s hard to make sure the kids behave as it is. You have to force a mask on them? Give me a break. I mean, it doesn’t even work. So hopefully they’ll take away the federal mask mandate,” he continued.
“Although I’ll tell you, I can see this just persisting indefinitely. I guess. You’ll have to wait until January 20, 2025, to finally get rid of it, but it’s going to be gone one way or another,” DeSantis added.
Indeed, Biden has gone far beyond his plan for “just” 100 days of masking and continues to advocate masks for air travel. It is currently set to expire March 18.