Amid Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ (R) executive order that aligns with the GOP’s latest culture war battle against so-called “vaccine passports,” it appears that the Republican National Committee missed the memo by requiring attendees of its spring donor retreat in the state to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Despite the White House repeatedly stressing that it won’t federally mandate “vaccine passports” as the country continues hitting record-setting levels of vaccinations, Republicans such as DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) have issued executive orders arguing that it would infringe on individuals’ freedom and privacy.
“Individual Covid-19 vaccination records are private health information and should not be shared by a mandate,” DeSantis’ executive order reads.
DeSantis also vowed to sign the ban on vaccine passports into law in a tweet he posted after issuing the executive order.
But nonetheless, the RNC is plowing forward with a different mindset from the GOP’s latest battle in its culture wars as the committee prepares to host its spring donor retreat in Florida this week.
In an email the RNC sent to attendees of the retreat obtained by the Washington Examiner on Tuesday, participants must provide proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR or Rapid Antigen test prior to the event, even for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“Proof of a negative COVID-19 test result is required in order to receive your credentials for the weekend,” the RNC’s email to attendees reads, according to the Washington Examiner. “If you or members in your party fail to fulfill this requirement, you will be denied entry to the 2021 RNC Spring Retreat.”
Part of the RNC’s spring donor retreat will be hosted at former President Trump’ Mar-a-Lago report in Palm Beach — a move made just days after Trump’s lawyers sent cease-and-desist letters to three GOP organizations, including the RNC, to stop fundraising off of Trump’s name in an effort by the former president to try to consolidate his massive influence on the party.
The RNC’s upcoming event also comes amid polls showing significant COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy among Republicans, many of whom are Trump supporters.
During a press conference in Lexington, Kentucky on Monday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) urged Republican men to put aside their reservations so that the public can move past the pandemic.
“I’m a Republican man and I want to say to everyone, we need to take this vaccine,” McConnell said. “These reservations need to be put aside because the only way, I think, we get to finally put this pandemic in the rearview mirror is with herd immunity.”