Sen. Bill Cassidy said Sunday he disagrees with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ opposition to mask mandates in schools.
“I do disagree with Gov. DeSantis. The local officials should have control here,” the Louisiana Republican said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Cassidy, a physician, added that “when it comes to local conditions, if my hospital is full, and my vaccination rate is low and infection rate is going crazy, we should allow local officials to make those decisions best for their community.”
DeSantis has pushed to curb mask mandates in schools despite the rise of the highly infectious Delta coronavirus variant. His policies have created a feud with the White House, with President Joe Biden telling him and other governors resisting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to “get out of the way.”
In Florida, Covid-19 cases are skyrocketing and about 95 percent of hospitalizations are people who are unvaccinated. Still, the Republican governor has vowed to continue to fight any cities or municipalities that issue restrictions like mask mandates or lockdowns.
Asked by CNN host Dana Bash if DeSantis is playing politics with the pandemic, Cassidy said, “I don’t know if he’s trying to play politics. I try not to guess people’s motives.”
“I will say,” Cassidy continued, “politicians should not kind of carte blanche accept what the public health doctor says, but they shouldn’t just gratuitously ignore it either.”
“There has to be a balance there,” he added. “And whenever politicians mess with public health, usually it doesn’t work out well for public health. And ultimately, it doesn’t work out for the politician because public health suffers and the American people want public health.”