Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called on President Biden to allow tennis superstar Novak Djokovic into the United States to play in the upcoming Miami Open even though he’s unvaccinated against COVID-19.
In a letter obtained by Fox News Digital, DeSantis urged Biden to “put pandemic politics aside and give the American people what they want – let him play.” DeSantis wrote that Djokovic’s denial to enter the U.S. is unfair, unscientific and unacceptable.”
DeSantis wondered whether Djokovic could potentially enter the U.S. by boat.
“It is also not clear to me why, even by the terms of your own proclamation, Mr. Djokovic could not legally enter this county via boat,” DeSantis wrote, citing a proclamation that barred noncitizens from entering the U.S. via the air. “Please confirm no later than Friday, March 10, 2023, that this method of travel into Florida would be permissible.
“Furthermore, even as you enacted a Proclamation on air travel that remains in force to this day, your administration pointedly allowed thousands of unvaccinated migrants to enter our country through the southern border,” the letter adds.
“In sum, the current ‘travel ban’ applied to Mr. Djokovic — and presumably millions of other potential unvaccinated foreign visitors — seems completely ungrounded in logic, common sense, or any genuine concern for the health and welfare of the American people.”
Djokovic was recently forced to withdraw from the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California, after being denied entry to the U.S. over his COVID vaccine status. He requested a vaccine waiver, which would have allowed him to enter the U.S. unvaccinated, but it was rejected by the Homeland Security Department.
Djokovic was able to play in the Australian Open in January after being deported from the country last year over his vaccine status. Australia had far harsher COVID guidelines than most countries during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The only thing keeping Mr. Djokovic from participating in this tournament is your administration’s continued enforcement of a misguided, unscientific, and out-of-date COVID-19 vaccination requirement for foreign guests seeking to visit our great country,” the letter continued. “American tennis legend John McEnroe recently termed this restriction ‘absurd.’ He was quite right to say so.”
DeSantis also noted that Biden declared the “pandemic is over” and that he “communicated to Congress that the COVID-19 emergency will formally end on May 11.”
A rep for Djokovic didn’t immediately return Fox News Digital’s request for comment. The White House didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, both Republicans from Florida, expressed support for the Serbian tennis star and called on Congress to act to eliminate President Biden’s “bogus vaccine mandate.”
“It has come to our attention that your administration is in receipt of a request to waive the current vaccine mandate for international travelers entering the United States from top-ranked men’s tennis player Novak Djokovic. We write to urge you to grant the requested waiver, which is necessary to allow Mr. Djokovic to compete in the Miami Open professional tennis tournament held in our home state of Florida beginning March 19, 2023,” the Republicans said in a joint letter.
In the letter, the Florida lawmakers even reminded Biden that he previously said the pandemic was “over.”
“In September 2022, you plainly declared to a national audience on ‘60 Minutes’ that ‘the [COVID-19] pandemic is over,’ and, earlier this year, Dr. Anthony Fauci published a professional article acknowledging the limited efficacy of vaccines in protecting against respiratory pathogens, like the novel coronavirus,” the senators continued.
“In light of these changing circumstances, and admissions by you and members of your own administration, the current restrictive vaccine mandate which you have maintained for international travelers entering the United States seems outdated and worthy of rescission.
“Mr. Djokovic is a world-class athlete in peak physical condition who is not at high-risk of severe complications from COVID-19. It seems both illogical and misaligned with the opinions of your own administration to not grant him the waiver he requests so that he may travel to the U.S. to compete in a professional event.”
Djokovic last played in the states in the 2021 U.S. Open.
Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.