'I'll use my powers as President to get them out of the way;' Biden says

President Joe Biden didn't mention any names as he rolled out a multi-part plan to slow the COVID-19 surge in the United States.

But the president delivered a strong message Thursday to governors who are resistant to mask mandates in their states. States like Florida.

"Local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them, and even threatens their salaries or their jobs," said President Biden during a nationally televised speech from the White House. "Talk about bullying in schools."

"If they'll not help, if these governors won't help us beat the pandemic, I'll use my powers as president to get them out of the way," President Biden added.


The phrase, "Get out of the way," goes back to a comment from President Biden early last month. Biden blasted DeSantis, and suggested the Republican governor get "out of the way" of the efforts to slow the delta variant surge which, at the time, put Florida in the hot seat for new infections. DeSantis fired back the next day. "I'm standing in your way, and I'm standing in your way for the people of Florida."

President Biden said the U.S. Department of Education is already taking legal action against states who are undermining the protections that local school leaders have ordered.

The president also promised the government will restore the pay of any school leader or teacher who had their salaries withheld for, as Biden called it, "doing the right thing."

DeSantis and the Florida Department of Education, already withheld funds targeting the salaries of school board leaders in Broward and Alachua Counties for their mask mandates, despite a judge's order that said the ban on mask mandates in schools is unlawful.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran sent a warning letter to Palm Beach County. The county responded by saying its mask mandate did not violate the law and had no plans of pulling it off the table.

This week, a judge ruled schools can go forward with their mask mandates as the order to block the ban is under appeal.

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