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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to Iowa voters gathered at the Iowa State Fairgrounds on March 10, 2023 in Des Moines, Iowa. DeSantis, who is widely expected to seek the 2024 Republican nomination for president, is one of several Republican leaders visiting the state this month. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

(LifeSiteNews) — Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis struck back at President Joe Biden on Tuesday after the president suggested DeSantis’ moves to protect kids from transgender ideology in Florida were almost “sinful.”

“It is not ‘sinful’ to prohibit the mutilation of minors,” DeSantis shot back in a Tuesday tweet. “It is not acceptable for the federal government to mandate that procedures like sex change operations be allowed for kids.”

DeSantis’ made the comments in response to remarks by Biden in a Monday interview with actor Kal Penn on The Daily Show. During the interview, Biden spoke about Florida’s moves to shield children from the predations of radical sexual and gender ideology.

Under DeSantis, Florida’s Board of Medicine has consistently voted against the use of puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, or mutilating gender “transition” surgeries for minors. Last year, the governor also signed the “Parental Rights in Education” Act, prohibiting sexual and gender-ideology content in schools for students in kindergarten through third grade. Any such content for older children must be “age appropriate.”

READ: Florida medical boards affirm ban on genital, chemical mutilation of kids

“What’s going on in Florida is, as my mother would say, close to sinful,” Biden said, arguing that laws opposing the spread of transgender ideology are “cruel” and hinting at national legislation to prohibit states like Florida from making laws affirming biological reality.

“And the way we do it is we make sure we pass legislation like we passed on same-sex ‘marriage,’” he said, referencing the Respect for Marriage Act signed in December which compels all states to recognize as “marriage” unions between members of the same sex. 

“You mess with that, you’re breaking the law and you’re going to be held accountable,” Biden said.

READ: Biden attacks DeSantis for protecting children from transgender mutilation: ‘Close to sinful’

The dust-up between DeSantis and Biden comes as the Florida Republican is widely anticipated to launch a presidential run at the close of the Sunshine State’s legislative session in May.

A recent report by The Washington Post indicated that the pro-life governor has already privately committed to pursuing the White House, and political allies are busy shoring up resources to support his candidacy.