The state of Florida, as led by a Trump-allied Republican Governor, waited weeks to issue a statewide stay-at-home order, even as confirmed Coronavirus cases climbed into the thousands and put the state among the most hard-hit in the country. Over 4,500 cases have already been confirmed in Miami-Dade and Broward counties alone. This week on MSNBC, Florida’s Republican Senator Marco Rubio attempted to defend DeSantis’s delay with completely disingenuous remarks that Florida was supposedly fine before the governor’s statewide stay-at-home order, and host Stephanie Ruhle called out his potentially life-threatening nonsense to his face.
Rubio tried to claim that the state had essentially been under a stay-at-home order already because of a patchwork of local orders to that effect dished out around the state. However, there were big holes in that patchwork — anyone in one county where the virus was free to spread because life was proceeding as normal could head over to the supposedly so well protected areas. Ruhle pointed out the “pictures of partiers on beaches jamming on it” in Florida that have circulated recently in the wake of spring break.
‘Yeah, that was two or three weeks ago. Those are not recent images and all of the counties that those videos reflect have issued orders and closed beaches or the cities themselves. What I’m trying to say is just because you didn’t have a stay-at-home order doesn’t mean people weren’t staying at home. There were orders in virtually all the large metropolitan counties and virtually all of southeast Florida had these orders.’
He also rattled off areas including Tampa Bay and central Florida that issued various forms of stay-at-home demands.
Thus, Rubio concluded:
‘That said, I think the governor made the right decision to implement that statewide because it creates a level of uniformity and — but the governor has — his preference is to defer to the local level… That’s always the preference, right? Local officials are on the front lines, and you want to provide them with resources, but you also want to provide them with the opportunity to decide what to do at the local level.’
Local officials can’t magically wish the supplies and assistance into existence that they need. Struggling authorities don’t need vague ideology. They need help.
Asked directly if he supports DeSantis’s actions, Rubio deferred. He said that eventually, we’ll have “plenty of time to look back and see all the mistakes that were made, all the errors that were made at every level, starting at the CDC, maybe Congressional oversight, maybe we should have started on the relief bill a week earlier in Congress. Right now, we can’t stop to do that. We have to focus on the emergency at hand right now.”
His idea that those concerned with getting to the bottom of inaction are heading off on some wild goose chase is ludicrous. Right now, Americans are getting sick and dying who could have potentially been saved if foot-dragging Republicans around the country had picked up the pace of their virus response. Right now, the problem is at hand.