Psaki attacks DeSantis because Disney ends its vaccine mandate

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki indicated that Disney World’s decision to halt its staff vaccine mandate showed how Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is taking “steps back” when it comes to fighting the pandemic.

“They are based in Florida, and the governor there has obviously consistently taken steps to take steps backwards in terms of fighting the pandemic, not forward,” Psaki replied Monday when asked on board Air Force One what more the White House could do after. Companies like Disney decided to revoke their vaccine mandates for employees after President Biden’s vaccine mandate in the workplace was issued in a federal court last week.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki
(Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty Images)


Psaki’s comments come after DeSantis last week signed four bills requiring private employers to allow vaccine exemptions, including but not limited to health or religious concerns, pregnancy or expected future pregnancies, and previous recovery from COVID-19.

“No one should lose their jobs because of harsh COVID mandates, and we had a responsibility to protect the livelihoods of the people of Florida,” DeSantis said of the legislation.

Walt Disney World announced Saturday that it was pausing its COVID-19 vaccine mandate in response to the new law.

“We believe our approach to mandatory vaccines has been the right one, as we continue to focus on the safety and well-being of our participating members and guests, and at this time, more than 90% of active Florida-based participating members are have already confirmed that they are fully vaccinated, “said a Disney spokesman. “We will address legal developments as needed.”

The Biden administration ended a mandate earlier in November that required companies with more than 100 employees to have their workers vaccinated or subjected to weekly testing, but the rule was suspended by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which later decided to maintain on the order.

In response, the occupational health and safety administration announced that it complied with the court order and would “not take steps to implement or enforce the” rule “until further court order.”

Despite the loss in court, Psaki struck an optimistic note that many companies would require vaccinations even without a mandate.


“I would note that a recent poll showed that 60% of business leaders wanted to move forward on their own with vaccine requirements,” she said. “We’ve seen them implemented, at many companies they’s been effective, and in general it gives many companies certainty about their workforce, makes people feel more confident about getting back to work.”

But Psaki also made it clear that the stay will continue to be “prosecuted through the process”, while the administration in the meantime will continue to “encourage companies to take steps to protect their workforce.”

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