Governor Ron Desantis: Florida’s governor has been in the spotlight recently for his stance on how to address COVID. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: Governor Ron Desantis
Florida makes up roughly 6.5% of the US population. Last Wednesday, the Sunshine State accounted for over 20% of the country’s new coronavirus cases. In response, President Joe Biden asked GOP governors to “get out of the way” of virus containment efforts. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is up for reelection next year and frequently mentioned as a 2024 presidential contender, clapped back, saying he did not want to “hear a blip about COVID from you, thank you.” He added, “Why don’t you do your job?” The efforts Biden is referring to are mask and vaccine mandates, which have both become extremely touchy subjects when discussed in the context of school and business settings. For example, DeSantis has banned mask mandates in Florida schools and argued that vaccines are the best way to stem the surge without implementing new restrictions that infringe on personal liberty. Here’s how both sides are reacting to the bickering between Biden and DeSantis.
On The Right
Right-leaning commentators vehemently support Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. They think he’s a good blend of Trump policies without Trump’s personality. At the same time, they think DeSantis and the GOP at large are one scandal away from everything crashing down. They believe Biden and the media are privy to this, which is why they’re focusing so much on DeSantis’ handling of the recent COVID surge.
“Biden’s pathetic bid to blame GOP governors for COVID spike”New York Post Editorial Board: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is absolutely right in calling out President Joe Biden’s COVID hypocrisy: The president is blaming the surge in cases partly on DeSantis and other GOP governors who resist tighter restrictions — even as Biden lets thousands of COVID-positive migrants flood the nation. … By abandoning successful policies that President Donald Trump put in place to control the border, Biden himself created a nightmare. … Team Biden’s promises about vaccines for migrants is a clear acknowledgment that illegal border-crossers are fueling the problem — and the first step toward solving a problem, as they say, is recognizing you have one. Great. Alas, his shifting the blame toward others doesn’t inspire confidence.”
“Ron DeSantis, the Great Right Hope” Stephen Miller, Spectator Opinion: “Florida governor Ron DeSantis … is single-handedly carrying the GOP and its still somewhat loyal Trump base on his back … This is a burden no politician should be saddled with. The country and the GOP is one Ron DeSantis scandal away from returning to Trump’s awkward embrace in 2024. The national media knows this — which explains the feverish attempts to elevate every charlatan with a story or half-rumor to tell about his state and his governorship. … DeSantis more or less offers a clean break from [Trump]. He has been picking and choosing the parts of the Trumpworld platform that suit him, like taking on Big Tech censorship, critical race theory in schools, strong immigration policy, and punching back at the media in a more refined and focused way. This approach seems to reflect where the party appetite is. However one major falter, and A New Hope becomes The Empire Strikes Back. All of the eggs are in the DeSantis basket.”
“Ron DeSantis Shows Republicans How to Win by Fighting for Americanism Against Wokeism” James Pinkerton, Breitbart: “DeSantis has been on a roll, having made the right calls on COVID-19, on the ‘mostly peaceful protests’ (also known as riots), on girl-stomping transgender athletics, and on critical race theory. And oh yes, he not only survived a hit-piece from CBS News’ 60 Minutes, but actually emerged as the winner. … Ron DeSantis is the tip of the spear. As governor of a state which is just 53 percent non-Hispanic white, he made the bet that color-blind Americanism—including law and order and good civics—would be a winner. … Yes, DeSantis has the benefit of a Republican legislature, and yet so do most states. The better explanation for DeSantis’ success is that he has been more alert to governmental necessity (and, of course, political opportunity as well).”
On The Left
Left-leaning commentators think Gov. Ron DeSantis is dangerous, not only to the people of Florida but to the country at large. They believe the Biden administration will have a very difficult time taming the virus if GOP governors don’t do their part to advocate masking and mandatory vaccination. In their eyes, Ron DeSantis is leading the pack.
“Why Ron DeSantis is more dangerous than Trump” Dean Obeidallah, MSNBC Opinion: “There should be a special place in hell — or potentially in prison — for politicians who put their political goals ahead of the health and safety of our children. That is exactly what Gov. Ron DeSantis is doing in Florida with the executive order he signed last Friday barring school districts from mandating that students and school employees wear masks during the spike in COVID cases. … DeSantis is more dangerous [than Trump]. For starters, DeSantis wields actual governmental power, while Trump has none. … But DeSantis, like Trump, won’t back down. … His focus isn’t on what’s good for all the people of Florida — it’s on only what makes the GOP base happy. And if children need to be sacrificed for DeSantis to win the GOP nomination for president, he is clearly willing to take that risk.”
“Ron DeSantis is a big problem for Biden” Julian Zelizer, CNN Opinion: “The tension between President Biden and Gov. DeSantis is a glaring example that the problem the President faces with the pandemic is a political one. He’s dealing with large pockets of public health denialism that are deploying this issue—packaged in the rhetoric of individual freedom—to undercut efforts to protect the population, the economy, and our health care system from the ravages of this ongoing pandemic. … America is today a divided nation, one faction vaccinated and sometimes masked, the other against vaccines and always unmasked that makes containing the virus and its variants nearly impossible. And the costs of the continued damage are paid by everyone, through funding health care, to the damage to our economy, to the psychological carnage of entering another school year with this virus. … [Biden] will need to continue to press his foot on the gas to reverse the direction that the nation has taken in the past few months, largely as a result of the anti-vaccination movement.”
“Incredibly, DeSantis blames Florida COVID surge on Biden, immigrants. Scapegoat much?” Fabiola Santiago, Miami Herald Opinion: “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has failed to protect Floridians from COVID-19. That fact alone is grounds for condemnation, but [last] week he’s throwing into the mix a little xenophobia for political effect. … Struggling for credibility as COVID ravages the state, DeSantis … has come up with a new round of scapegoats for his failures: President Biden, immigrants at the border, and media ‘hysteria.’ … The governor says it’s immigrants crossing the border — and not the Floridians he has encouraged to behave irresponsibly, the unvaccinated or the unmasked — who are spreading variants. … Here’s what’s real: DeSantis still doesn’t care one iota about all Floridians; he only cares about stoking his base to distract from his failure. … As for Biden, asked Thursday at an open-press event on the South Lawn to respond to DeSantis’ attack, the president said: ‘Governor who?'”
Flag This: Governor Ron Desantis
According to a new survey from St. Pete Polls, among 3,952 likely Florida voters, 43.7% of respondents said they approve of the job Ron DeSantis is doing as governor. If the election for Governor of Florida was held today, 45.3% said they would vote for Democrat Charlie Crist, compared to 43.8% who said they would re-elect DeSantis. DeSantis does come in ahead of Democrat Nikki Fried, however. Finally, the survey asked: “When schools start classes later this month in Florida, do you think that masks should be required for all children?” 62% said “Yes”, 31.9% said “No,” and 6.1% were unsure.
Flag Poll: Governor Ron Desantis
Outside of Florida, when kids head back to school either imminently or within the next month across the country, do you believe masks should be required for all children? Comment below to share your thoughts.