Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber went after Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis during an appearance on CNN over the weekend, comparing DeSantis to a “pied piper just leading everybody off a cliff right now.” Florida has begun leading every other state in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, and yet, DeSantis has remained opposed to basic safety measures like mask mandates. Recently, DeSantis even blocked school boards in Florida from imposing their own local mask mandates, even though no age group — including children — is somehow exempt from the potentially deadly effects of COVID-19.
As Gelber put it on CNN, discussing DeSantis:
‘The governor has made it as difficult as possible to make people safe… He should be screaming for people to get vaccinated. He should be urging them to wear masks. He creates a false choice that if you wear a mask, it’s going to shutter the economy. Of course, that’s not true… He’s like the pied piper just leading everybody off a cliff right now by letting them know that they don’t have to like the CDC, they don’t have to wear masks, and they can do whatever they want, when we’re in the midst of an enormous pandemic, and Florida, by wide margins, is easily the worst state in the country in hospitalizations, in deaths, in positivities, in percentages. Florida is leading the nation right now in all of the worst data points.’
Notably, Gelber also said that local officials in Florida are “trying to do everything we can to get around the governor’s very wrong-headed desires,” and he added that even “local Republican mayors… are all on the side that I’m on.” At another point on CNN, Gelber said as follows, discussing the situation:
‘We’re not allowed to have mask mandates right now. We were one of the first cities to require it, and we charged a fine just to get people to do it. And the governor stopped allowing us to do it, and then immediately we saw a surge across our county and state when he did that.’
Watch Gelber’s comments in full at this link.