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 By Bradley Cortright

FILE PHOTO: White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 6, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki is accusing Republican governors of “putting politics ahead of public health” by implementing measures designed to prohibit COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Psaki specifically took aim at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for implementing measures designed to prevent entities from implementing vaccine mandates.

“Gov. Abbott’s executive order banning mandates, and I would also note [the] announcement by Gov. DeSantis this morning essentially banning the implementation of mandates, fit a familiar pattern that we’ve seen of putting politics ahead of public health,” Psaki said, adding, “Over 700,000 American lives have been lost due to COVID-19 including more than 56,000 in Florida and over 68,000 in Texas.”

She added, “Every leader should be focused on support steps to save lives and end the pandemic. Why would you be taking steps that prevent the saving of lives, that make it more difficult to save lives across the country or in any state?”

Watch the video below:

.@PressSec says that governors like Abbott and DeSantis are “putting politics ahead of public health” and are implementing policies that “prevent the saving of lives.” pic.twitter.com/1vmeHDQnEx

On Monday, Abbott issued an executive order that says “no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccination by any individual, including an employee or consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, or for medical reasons, including prior recovery from COVID-19.”

DeSantis has threatened to fine counties and cities that impose vaccine mandates for their employees. And Tuesday, Florida fined Leon County $3.57 million for requiring vaccinations for county employees.

Earlier this year, as governors sought to block the implementation of mask mandates, Psaki said, “If you aren’t going to help, if you aren’t going to abide by public health guidance, then get out of the way.”

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