BRANDON, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a package of anti-COVID-19 vaccine mandate bills into law Thursday in Brandon, Florida – a thinly veiled jab at President Biden.
In a rebuke to the White House, the legislative package prevents some workers from being required to get vaccinated. Employers will be required to allow exemptions including, but not limited to health or religious concerns; pregnancy or anticipated future pregnancy; and past recovery from COVID-19.
"We were here to celebrate a great city in the state of Florida, a freedom city, and it's important that when you have the federal government overreaching, like Joe Biden's doing, that we signed legislation to protect Floridians," DeSantis told Fox News. "Doing it here in Brandon I think is especially meaningful because I think people here really appreciate it,"
The phrase "Let’s go, Brandon" exploded after an NBC reporter mistakenly used the phrase to describe a NASCAR crowd that was chanting "F--- Joe Biden."
Earlier in November, DeSantis dubbed the Biden administration the "Brandon administration" during a press conference in Palm Beach.
"As long as you continue to see these types of decisions – short sighted, reckless political decisions – without true understanding of consequences or the individual circumstances of the people their decisions are affecting, you will continue to see people pushing back," Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, told Fox News in an exclusive interview. "Whether that's ‘let’s go, Brandon' … or demonstrating it in a legal action to formally push back, I think you'll continue to see that throughout this administration."
The signing comes after DeSantis called a special legislative session on vaccine mandates. Democrats called the three-day session political theater.
"Ron DeSantis and the republican leadership just wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars on this special session," Florida state Rep. Angie Nixon, a Democrat, tweeted Wednesday. "We didn’t even attempt to address this housing crisis affecting many in our state. We’re here just to kick off the governor’s campaign."
The first-term governor claimed victory, tweeting: "I look forward to signing legislation that will protect their jobs and the jobs of all Floridians who are facing unjust termination due to heavy-handed mandates!"
The Biden administration finalized a mandate earlier in November requiring workers in businesses with 100 or more employees to either get vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The federal agency that issued the rule suspended enforcement following a court order.
Editor's note: This piece has been updated with additional quotes. Houston Keene contributed to this report.