Archive for Thomas Colson

Trump will lead the Republicans and his critics will be ‘erased,’ says Lindsey Graham

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Sen. Lindsey Graham has warned former President Donald Trump that attacking his rivals won't help secure future election victories.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said it was "impossible" for the Republican Party to progress without Donald Trump being its leader.
  • He said those within the party who criticized him would "wind up getting erased."
  • GOP lawmakers are battling over Trump's future role within the party.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Sen. Lindsey Graham said it was "impossible" for the Republican Party to progress without Donald Trump being its leader and said those within the party who criticized him would "wind up getting erased."

"The most popular Republican in America is not Lindsey Graham, it's not Liz Cheney, it's Donald Trump," Graham told Fox News on Monday.

"People on our side of the aisle believe that Trump policies worked, they're disappointed that he lost. And to try and erase Donald Trump from the Republican Party is insane. And the people who try to erase him are going to wind up getting erased."

"It's impossible for this party to move forward without President Trump being its leader because the people who are conservative have chosen him as their leader," Graham told Fox News on Monday.

"He was the most consequential president for national security since Ronald Reagan ... The people have chosen him, not the pundits," he said.

Graham's comments come as GOP lawmakers continue to argue over the extent to which Trump should continue to play a formative role within the party. Some senior Republican figures including Sen. Graham have suggested that Trump and his politics are integral to the party.

He last week suggested the party "can't grow" without the support of the former president.

Others including Rep. Liz Cheney, have led criticism of the former president since he was accused of inciting the Capitol riot on January 6.

Trump, who has suggested he would like to run again as the Republican presidential candidate in 2024, has sought to maintain a tight grip as the party's de facto leader.

He continues to endorse candidates who pledge loyalty to him and advance his favored policies, and repeatedly attacks his Republican critics, including Cheney.

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Boris Johnson said he’d rather ‘let the bodies pile high in their thousands’ than allow a second lockdown, report says

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"No more f*****g lockdowns - let the bodies pile high in their thousands!" Boris Johnson reportedly said.
  • Boris Johnson reportedly said he would rather 'let the bodies pile high' than impose a second lockdown last year.
  • Sources told the Daily Mail that Johnson made the comments at a meeting in October.
  • A senior UK government minister on Monday denied the claims, which he described as "gossip."
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson allegedly said he would rather "let the bodies pile high in their thousands" rather than impose a fresh lockdown last year, as the coronavirus pandemic raged across Britain.

Sources told the Daily Mail that Johnson made the comments at a meeting in October when he eventually agreed to impose a second national lockdown.

However, his frustration at having to impose new measures reportedly led to him saying during the meeting at 10 Downing Street: "No more f*****g lockdowns - let the bodies pile high in their thousands!"

A spokesperson for the opposition Labour party described the reported comments as "truly shocking."

"If this report is true, then these are truly shocking and sickening comments from Boris Johnson," the spokesperson said.

"It is hard to imagine how families who have lost loved ones to COVID will feel reading them. Boris Johnson must make a public statement as soon as possible in his response to this report."

A senior minister on Monday said the report was not true. "It's not true - it's been categorically denied by practically everyone," Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News, per Reuters.

"We're getting into the sort of comedy chapter now of these gossip stories - you know unnamed sources by unnamed advisers talking about unnamed events. You know - look - none of this is serious."

The briefing follows an extraordinary row between Boris Johnson and his former chief adviser Dominic Cummings.

Cummings, who left Downing Street acrimoniously in December, published a blog post on Friday denying accusations from Downing Street that he was behind a recent leak of text messages shared between Johnson and billionaire James Dyson.

The prime minister had reportedly called journalists at three newspapers himself to accuse Cummings of being behind the leaks.

Cummings also denied being the so-called "chatty rat" who briefed journalists about the lockdown in October.

He said that a different adviser, Henry Newman was the main suspect of the leak, but Johnson had wanted to delay the inquiry because that adviser was a close friend of his fiancée, Carrie Symonds.

Newman has denied this.

Cummings also said that he had warned Johnson that his alleged plan to renovate his Downing Street flat using money from Conservative donors was "unethical, foolish, possibly illegal and almost certainly broke the rules on proper disclosure of political donations."

Downing Street last week attempted to defuse the row over the flat's refurbishment by saying Johnson would meet the cost himself.

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Biden called George W. Bush before he announced his Afghanistan troop withdrawal plan – but neither said whether Bush supported it

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan on April 14, 2021 in Washington, DC.
  • President Joe Biden called George W. Bush to discuss his plan to pull US troops out of Afghanistan.
  • Biden didn't say if Bush supported the decision to end the war that started during his presidency.
  • Biden also spoke with former President Barack Obama by phone before announcing the decision.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

President Joe Biden called former President George W. Bush to discuss his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, but neither man said whether Bush supported the decision to end the war that started during his presidency.

President Biden said at a press conference on Wednesday that he called President Bush the previous day to inform him of the decision.

"I spoke yesterday with President Bush and informed him of my decision," Biden said in a speech at the White House.

"While he and I have had many disagreements over policy throughout the years, we are absolutely united in our respect and support for the valor, courage, and integrity of the women and men in the United States armed forces who served," Biden said.

Biden on Wednesday detailed his plan to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, noting that he was in the same room where President George W. Bush announced the first airstrikes on Afghanistan in October 2001, less than a month after 9/11.

"It is time to end America's longest war," Biden said. "It is time for American troops to come home."

He said that he was the fourth president to preside over the war with Afghanistan, and said he "will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth."

Biden also spoke with former President Barack Obama by phone, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday.

"POTUS spoke with both President Bush and [Barack Obama] during separate calls yesterday," Psaki said on Twitter Wednesday.

"While we are not going to read out private conversations, he values their opinions and wanted them both to hear directly from him about his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.

Bush's spokesman declined to say whether Bush had supported Biden's decision.

"As he has maintained since leaving office, President Bush will decline to comment on private phone calls or his successors," he said, per the New York Times.

"He and Mrs. Bush remain committed to honoring and supporting our post-9/11 veterans and empowering women in Afghanistan through their work at the Bush Institute."

President Obama said in a statement: "I support President Biden's bold leadership in building our nation at home and restoring our standing around the world.".

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Matt Gaetz’s iPhone seized by the FBI in sex trafficking probe, as associate cooperates with investigation

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Matt Gaetz's phone was seized by federal agents investigating the sex trafficking allegations surrounding him.
  • Federal agents seized the iPhone of Rep. Matt Gaetz, Politico reported.
  • The Florida GOP lawmaker is facing federal sex trafficking allegations.
  • His phone seizure comes as reports suggest investigators have secured the cooperation of a close associate.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Federal agents have reportedly seized the phone of Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is facing federal sex trafficking allegations, as reports suggest investigators have secured the cooperation of a close associate.

Federal agents executed a search warrant this winter during which they seized Gaetz's iPhone, Politico reported, citing three people who Gaetz had told about the situation.

The Florida GOP congressman reportedly changed his phone number in December last year, and his former girlfriend's phone was also seized in November, Politico reported.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Gaetz, a prominent Trump supporter in Congress, had sexual relations with a 17-year-old and if he violated sex-trafficking laws by paying for sex. Gaetz has denied the allegations and claimed they are part of an extortion plot against him.

Gaetz is alleged to have sent $900 to his political associate Joel Greenberg, who was indicted last year on sex trafficking charges, who then sent the money to women via payment apps.

In a further sign of Gaetz's mounting legal troubles, the New York Times reported Tuesday that Greenberg has been co-operating with investigators since last year to provide information.

Greenberg told investigators about an "array of topics" and said he and Gaetz provided women with cash and gifts in exchange for sex, two people familiar with the investigation told the New York Times.

The Justice Department indicted Greenberg last June and has charged him with 33 counts, including carrying out the sex trafficking of a minor between the ages

"Congressman Gaetz has never paid for sex," a representative for Gaetz told Insider on Tuesday in response to the New York Times report.

"Based on reporting from Politico, it seems Mr. Greenberg has been trying to ensnare innocent people in his troubles for quite some time."

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Trump said Anthony Fauci is ‘full of crap’ in an expletive-laden speech to Republican donors

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Left: Dr. Anthony Fauci. Right: Former President Donald Trump.
  • Former President Donald Trump launched a fierce attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci over the weekend.
  • Dr. Fauci was singled out by the former president, along with other public figures including Mitch McConnell.
  • "Have you ever seen anybody that is so full of crap?" Trump said of Fauci, according to the Washington Post.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Former President Donald Trump used a 50-minute speech this weekend to attack a range of public figures including Dr. Anthony Fauci, who he accused of being "full of crap,"the Washington Post reported.

Trump gave the rambling speech at his Mar-A-Lago resort on Saturday evening at an event for wealthy GOP donors, where he attacked Dr. Fauci, who helped co-ordinate the White House's coronavirus response and frequently drew President Trump's ire while he was in office.

"Have you ever seen anybody that is so full of crap?" Trump said of Fauci, according to the Post, which cited an attendee at the event.

Trump also mocked Fauci's baseball skills, the Post and Politico reported, making a jibe at the ceremonial first pitch he threw last year at a game between the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees.

Trump has frequently mocked Fauci for the wayward pitch, and in October last year called it "perhaps the worst first pitch in the history of Baseball!"

Trump also used his speech to label Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a "dumb son of a b---h," according to Politico.

President Trump clashed repeatedly over the White House's coronavirus response with Fauci, who is a member of the coronavirus task force and served as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.

Fauci had pressed for a hands-on federal response to the coronavirus while Trump, who frequently played down the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, preferred to leave decision-making to individual states.

In March, Trump said that he ignored Fauci's advice but decided against firing him.

"I thought rather than firing him, you know, I listened to him, but I didn't do what he said because frankly his record is not a good record," Trump said on "The Truth with Lisa Boothe" podcast.

Fauci, who is now President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor, was also critical of Trump, saying in October he was "absolutely not" surprised that the president had caught coronavirus in September because he had not taken the appropriate medical precautions.

"I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask," Fauci told CBS's "60 Minutes."

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Trump’s plan to start his own social media platform is doomed to failure, say experts

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Donald Trump's new social media network is likely to struggle.
  • Trump's plan to start a new social media network is highly unlikely to succeed, experts have told Insider.
  • The former president is reportedly planning a new platform to recover the audience he lost after being kicked off Twitter.
  • But Trump will struggle, experts believe, with any new platform likely to struggle financially.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Donald Trump's plan to create a new social media platform is doomed to fail, experts have told Insider, with the former president unlikely to extend his following beyond a dwindling number of his remaining supporters.

Kicked off Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube after the Capitol riot on January 6, the former president has spent the last few months in the digital wilderness, resorting to issuing press statements via email.

Now, says his aide Jason Miller, he's planning to come roaring back with his own social media network within "about two or three months."

"I do think we're going to see President Trump returning to social media in probably about two or three months here with his own platform," Miller said in March. "This is something that I think will be the hottest ticket in social media.

"It's going to completely redefine the game, and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what exactly President Trump does, but it will be his own platform," he said.

Axios reported that Trump's team is in conversations with taking over or partnering with smaller apps, including one called FreeSpace, which only counts a few thousand downloads to date.

However, some experts doubt that the project will ever get off the ground.

"Donald Trump says a lot of things. Before he was elected, he said he would rarely leave the White House and that he wouldn't have time to play golf and that he'd give up Twitter if elected," Peter Loge, an associate professor at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, told Insider.

"Until the talked-about social media platform is up, running, and being used, I wouldn't assume it exists."

Trump will struggle to recreate the audience he had on Twitter

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Even if Trump does get off the ground, experts believe that Trump will have a difficult time recapturing the success he enjoyed on Twitter.

Even though Trump's reported plan to partner with an existing app might mean that the network may not face many of the technical hurdles associated with launching a brand-new app, experts said that Trump will likely struggle to persuade people who are not already his loyal followers to sign up to it.

"This [new] social media network is in my professional judgment unlikely to grow Trump's following," said Professor Stephen A. Greyser, a marketing and communications expert at Harvard Business School.

"It is dominantly oriented [on] maintaining his existing following."

Twitter was a tool credited with helping him to capture the Republican presidential nomination in 2016 and subsequently the presidency itself and a highly effective means to communicate his unfiltered thoughts to millions of followers once he was in the White House.

The nature of Twitter was that Trump's often provocative political statements would be seen and heard across the political spectrum, rather than only by his existing fanbase.

However, if Trump's ambition in launching a new platform is merely to maintain regular contact with his existing followers, then it may prove an effective tool, said Professor Greyser.

"It is serving as a reminder to existing users, so to speak, of the brand. But it's unlikely to be attracting new brand adherence," he said.

This may not be enough for Trump.

The signs since he left the White House are that he wants to maintain and expand his influence over the Republican party. He's even hinted several times that he is eyeing another run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024. It is not clear that a new social media network will be much help in that regard.

Trump's new platform could struggle financially

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"Any new site would face stiff competition from others trying to get a sliver of attention from Americans already overwhelmed with online options," said Peter Loge.

"You have to sell ads or data to make that work, which means you need enough people to buy the ads and the data."

"That means the service has to have enough users to make ads and data worth buying. Those are users who have to be pried away from other services that they are already using and from which they are already benefiting."

"There are hundreds of social media services out there, all competing for limited user attention and limited ad dollars. Trump would presumably start with a significant base, but would likely have trouble expanding that base beyond his current fans."

The midterms next year may provide a clear indication as to whether Trump newly equipped with his own social media network, will continue to exert the same sort of oversized grip on the Republican party he has in recent years.

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Trump ‘obviously admired Hitler,’ says Anne Frank’s stepsister, referring to claims he studied his speeches

trump hitler anne frank
  • Former President Donald Trump "obviously admired Hitler," Anne Frank's stepsister Eva Schloss told the Daily Beast.
  • "I even heard that he studied Hitler's speeches and things like that, so he obviously admired Hitler and just copied him with his anti-Semitism."
  • Trump's former wife Ivanka once reportedly claimed that Trump kept a book of Hitler's speeches near his bed.
  • "If, I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them," Trump said at the time.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

The 91-year-old stepsister of Anne Frank claimed in an interview this week that former President Donald Trump "obviously admired Hitler," referring to a claim by his former wife that he kept copies of his speeches at home.

Eva Schloss, co-founder of The Anne Frank Trust UK, told the Daily Beast in an interview where she discussed surviving the Holocaust and her opinions of Donald Trump that the former president was "a racist."

Schloss said: "There was a noticeable uptick in anti-Semitic hate crimes during the Trump administration. And there was a president in Trump who described neo-Nazis chanting "Jews will not replace us" as "very fine people."

She went onto say: "Trump wasn't just against the Jews. He was against the Mexicans, and many others. He was a racist. Full-stop, he was a racist.

"I've compared him to Hitler. I even heard that he studied Hitler's speeches and things like that, so he obviously admired Hitler and just copied him with his anti-Semitism."

There is no evidence of Trump expressing admiration for Hitler. However, Schloss's comments about Trump studying Hitler's speeches appear to refer to comments made by Trump's former wife Ivana in a 1990 Vanity Fair interview.

She reportedly told her lawyer Michael Kennedy that Trump kept a book of Hitler's speeches in a cabinet near his bed.

Trump denied, however, that he had ever read the speeches. "If I had these speeches, and I am not saying that I do, I would never read them," he told a reporter.

Jews in the United States in 2019 suffered the largest number of anti-Semitic incidents since the Anti-Defamation League started recording them 40 years previously, the watchdog reported last year, per Reuters.

The president was repeatedly criticized during his presidency for failing to adequately condemn far-right violence in the United States. He refused explicitly to condemn the far-right Proud Boys organization during a 2020 presidential debate and instead told the group to "stand back and stand by!"

In one of the most notorious episodes of his presidency, he blamed "many sides" for neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville in August 2017 and said there were "very fine people" on "both sides."

Trump subsequently claimed that his remarks had been embellished by opponents.

Insider contacted President Trump's office for comment.

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Video shows Trump meeting the man at the center of the Matt Gaetz sex-trafficking allegations

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President Donald Trump takes a selfie with Rep. Matt Gaetz in the House chamber after Trump's State of the Union address in 2018.
  • A video has surfaced of Trump and a man at the center of Gaetz's sex-trafficking allegations.
  • Jason Pirozzolo met Trump, then president, along with Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida in 2019.
  • Pirozzolo is accused of paying for female escorts for Gaetz on a Bahamas trip in 2018 or 2019.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Footage from 2019 has surfaced of former President Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, being greeted at a Florida airport by the man at the center of the sex-trafficking allegations involving GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz.

A video posted in June 2019 by Ryan Gillespie, a journalist at the Orlando Sentinel, shows the then-president, who was in Orlando to launch his re-election bid, and Melania Trump disembarking from a plane and meeting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Jason Pirozzolo on the airport tarmac.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Pirozzolo, a marijuana entrepreneur and hand surgeon, and Gaetz broke federal sex-trafficking laws during a trip to the Bahamas in 2018 or 2019, CBS News reported.

Sources told CBS News that Pirozzolo paid for the travel expenses, accommodation, and female escorts for those present on the Bahamas trip and said investigators are trying to determine whether the escorts were illegally trafficked across state lines for the purpose of sex with Gaetz. Neither man has been charged in connection with the investigation.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, center, greets President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump as they step off Air Force One in Orlando, Florida, in 2019.
It is unclear why Pirozzolo was present at the airport to greet President Trump.

Gillespie wrote on Twitter at the time that Pirozzolo was "an Orlando hand surgeon and GOAA board member," referring to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

The Orlando Sentinel journalist Jason Garcia on Thursday reported that when Pirozzolo applied to become a GOAA board member, he listed Gaetz as one of his references.

The department is also investigating allegations that Gaetz had sexual relations with a 17-year-old girl across state lines, which could also represent a violation of state trafficking laws, The New York Times reported.

Gaetz has denied all the allegations made against him in relation to the investigations and has said he was the victim of an extortion scam. He also specifically denied allegations relating to the Bahamas trip.

"Rep. Gaetz has never paid for sex, nor has he had sex with an underage girl," a spokesman told CBS. "What began with blaring headlines about 'sex trafficking' has now turned into a general fishing exercise about vacations and consensual relationships with adults."

Insider contacted DeSantis' office for comment.

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Joe Biden plans to build huge offshore wind farms to tackle the climate crisis

joe biden wind power
  • President Joe Biden's administration has detailed a plan to build huge offshore wind farms in the United States.
  • The White House said the plans would create up to 44,000 jobs by 2030.
  • President Biden has called climate change one of the four "major crises" he plans to tackle as president.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

President Joe Biden's administration has detailed a plan to build huge offshore wind farms in the United States as part of his plans to tackle climate change.

The project, which was unveiled on Monday, aims to create 30 extra gigawatts of offshore wind generation to US coastlines by 2030, while creating tens of thousands of jobs.

The White House said meeting that target would cost $12 billion a year in capital investment on both US coastlines and would employ 44,000 workers, as well as 33,000 additional jobs in communities supported by offshore wind generation.

The wind farms would supply power to 10 million homes and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 78 million metric tons, the White House said.

As one part of the efforts, Interior Department announced a new "priority wind energy area" in the New York Bight, a shallow area between Long Island and the New Jersey coastline, where the agency hopes to construct a wind farm by 2030.

"The announcements we're making today I hope will just jump-start everyone's understanding of the potential for offshore wind energy, and move this industry forward in a way that's going to allow us to really focus on the supply chain issue as well, because we're not just talking about erecting wind turbines in the oceans, we're talking about massive turbines that are actually manufactured in the United States," national climate adviser Gina McCarthy said Monday, in comments reported by Politico.

President Biden pledged to make tackling climate change a central part of his agenda in the White House, describing it as one of the four "major crises" facing the United States.

In his first week in office, he issued an executive order calling on the United States to create a "clean energy economy" and create millions of new jobs.

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Florida governor Ron DeSantis says he will ban coronavirus ‘vaccine passports’ in the state

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Governor Ron DeSantis said Biden's plans for a national vaccine passport scheme are "completely unacceptable."
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he will ban vaccine passports.
  • It comes after reports that President Biden was pushing efforts to develop vaccine passports.
  • "We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida,' DeSantis said.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he issue an executive order forbidding businesses from requiring so-called vaccine passports across the state.

DeSantis said at a press conference on Monday that he would introduce "an executive function" designed to prevent businesses from refusing to serve customers who were unable to prove they had been vaccinated, while seeking support from the Republican legislature to enshrine the act into law.

DeSantis was speaking after reports that the Biden administration was co-ordinating efforts by private companies and federal agencies to develop a scheme that will allow people to prove they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to gain access to some businesses, offices, or restaurants.

"We are not supporting doing any vaccine passports in the state of Florida," he said at a press conference on Monday which was broadcast by news station 10 Tampa Bay.

"It's completely unacceptable for either the government or the private sector to impose upon you the requirement that you show proof of vaccine to just simply be able to participate in normal society.

"You want to go to a movie theatre, should you have to show [a vaccine passport]? No. You want to go to a game, should you have to show that? No. You want to go to a theme park? No. We're not supportive of that."

The scheme could be used to allow people entry to sports bars, restaurants, and music venues, and to travel abroad.

DeSantis made the comments about vaccine passports at a press conference at the State Capitol where he signed a separate bill into law designed to shield businesses and schools from lawsuits related to the coronavirus pandemic, The Hill reported.

Vaccine passports are being developed or introduced in dozens of countries around the world and have been touted as a means for businesses that were shut during the pandemic to reopen safely.

DeSantis last week rejected the idea of introducing a lockdown in Florida after President Joe Biden said that more national restrictions might be required if the public was not "vigilant."

"To even contemplate doing any type of lockdown, honestly it's insane," DeSantis said.

He said: "That's not gonna happen in the state of Florida. We're gonna continue doing what works, but under no circumstances would we entertain anything of the sort."

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