“The local official should have control here. I don’t want top down from Washington, DC. I don’t want top down from a governor’s office,” Cassidy, who is also a physician, told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” when asked if he disagreed with the order from DeSantis, a fellow Republican.
“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,” he added.
Both DeSantis and Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott have been criticized by Democrats and public health experts for issuing statewide bans on mask mandates in schools as their states grapple with Covid-19 case surges, but the critique from Cassidy represents a rare intraparty disagreement over the orders.
On Friday, Florida reported more Covid-19 cases over the past week than any other seven-day period during the pandemic, and the state has accounted for about one in five of the nation’s new Covid cases over the past couple of weeks.
“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,” Cassidy said.