DeSantis Plans Bahamas Boat Run to Bring Djokovic – SEO optimized heading.
- Ron DeSantis joked that he smuggle Novak Djokovic to the US if Biden doesn’t let him in.
- “I would run a boat from the Bahamas here for him, I would do that a hundred percent,” DeSantis said.
- The Serbian tennis player is not allowed to enter the US because he’s not vaccinated.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis joked that he would “run a boat from the Bahamas” if that’s what it takes to bring Novak Djokovic to the US for the Miami Open.
At a press conference in Tampa on Wednesday, DeSantis said he wrote a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to “put pandemic politics aside” and let the unvaccinated Serbian tennis player enter the US.
The US currently prohibits unvaccinated foreigners from entering the country, a restriction that may ease once the COVID-19 public health emergency phase ends on May 11, per Reuters.
“I would run a boat from the Bahamas here for him, I would do that a hundred percent,” DeSantis said.
“But I think his people are looking at it, and I’m not sure that’s the way they want to come into the country, which I understand. I think it’ll be a great moment, but you know, nevertheless,” DeSantis added, to laughter from his audience.
DeSantis also argued that Djokovic is being discriminated against for choosing to be unvaccinated. DeSantis said Djokovic “poses zero risk” to the US and the state of Florida, because the tennis player has already had COVID-19 and should have a natural immunity to the virus.
DeSantis backing an unvaccinated player’s entry to the US is not out of character — he has long been on the warpath against COVID-19 federal restrictions. In 2021, he banned mask mandates for for Florida schools, and threatened to withhold state funding from schools that continued asking students to mask up.
DeSantis has also been criticized for how he handled Florida’s COVID-19 response. In 2020, during the early months of the pandemic, he refused to shut beaches and delayed issuing stay-at-home orders.
As of March 9, a total of 86,850 COVID-19 deaths — or one in 247 Floridians — have been reported in the state, per The New York Times’ COVID case tracker.
Meanwhile, Djokovic has resolutely refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine. He told the BBC last year that missing competitions was a price he was “willing to pay” to remain unvaccinated.
The Miami Open will be held at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, between March 19 and April 2 this year. It is unclear if Djokovic will make it to the competition.
Representatives for DeSantis and Djokovic did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
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