Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis stood firm last week against Democrats who lashed out at his criticism of “COVID theater.” He hammered Democratic hypocrisy over masking rules and called those who demanded continued pandemic-related restrictions “bullies.”
The latest controversy began last Wednesday when DeSantis told a group of high school students where he was about to speak that they could remove their face masks. He asked them to “please take them off” and observed that it was “not doing anything.” He added that students could keep them on if they wanted to but said the “COVID theater” is ridiculous.
DeSantis released a video Thursday that showed his statements to students forced to wear masks compared side-by-side with Democratic politicians failing to wear masks. He tweeted in the post attaching the video that the “political science show cannot go on.”
The governor’s video included clips of Democrats maskless at last week’s State of the Union Address and pictures of failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams without a mask surrounded by masked schoolchildren. It also had clips of California Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti violating local rules by going maskless at an NFL game in January.
In an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, DeSantis explained that he believed the students at the Wednesday event were told to wear masks and nearby adults were not. He said that he did not want the students to think compelled to wear the masks following two years of lies.
In responding to accusations that he is a bully, the governor said the “true bullies” are the ones who restricted students and all Americans wrongfully for two years. He said bullying is “locking kids out of school” and forcing them to wear masks for 8 hours each day. He said bullying also includes “kicking people out of work” over vaccine mandates. He pointed out that the state government in Florida fought against all of those policies, liberating people from improper rules imposed by local governments and school boards.
He added that he rejects the Democrats’ “two-tiered society.” He vowed to continue refusing to impose rules for appearance or “political theater.”