Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has led his state into a disaster. As of early Monday afternoon, over 360,000 cases of the Coronavirus had been confirmed in the state, and well over 5,000 people had died. DeSantis has opposed steps to combat the outbreak that are as basic as a statewide mandate for people to wear masks in public places, although similar mandates are in place in a significant number of other states and their helpfulness towards combating the pandemic has been well-documented. During a Monday press conference in Orlando, DeSantis was confronted by protesters who shouted allegations that the governor was lying to the public.
Check out video of the confrontation below:
— The Hill (@thehill) July 20, 2020
DeSantis stood still and looked on mockingly as the protesters made their voices heard. He did not acknowledge their concerns — instead, he simply praised the police officers who apparently escorted the protesters from the premises. He said:
‘We will not be defunding the police, so don’t worry about that. We are going to be supporting our men and women in law enforcement.’
Does DeSantis simply not care about Floridians who didn’t vote for him and don’t happen to support his every whim? Any remotely competent leader would try and bring people in their jurisdiction together amidst a crisis like the Coronavirus pandemic. DeSantis doesn’t appear to be trying to do that. He’s just petulantly lashing out at targets like the media, who, incredibly, he recently partly blamed for the latest surge of the Coronavirus in Florida. He alleged that journalists supposedly stopping asking questions about the virus and are “to blame for the public becoming complacent and cases rising,” as CNN summarizes. That’s just ludicrous. Journalists aren’t the ones in charge of public policy in the state! The responsibility for public policy, failures and all, falls back on — wait for it — Ron DeSantis.
There’s a perhaps easy explanation for DeSantis’s behavior. He is an ardent supporter of Donald Trump. During his campaign for governor, he even released an ad in which he, among other things, built a wall out of blocks with his kids, which referenced Trump’s promise to build a wall on the southern border. In the current crisis, Trump has struggled to take the situation appropriately seriously — and so has DeSantis.