The governor has also taken steps to bolster his political standing in dealing with the pandemic, calling reporters to the State Capitol to blow it up Wednesday with a slideshow titled “FACTS VS. SMEARS ”- a report in CBS News’ “60 Minutes” who did not have enough evidence to demonstrate a pay-to-play dynamic between Mr DeSantis’s government and the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to white and wealthy Floridians.
His records of the virus are indeed mixed. By some standards, Florida has had average pandemic performance that is not over yet. However, his decisions helped ensure that hospitals were not overwhelmed with coronavirus patients. He stresses that he helped businesses survive and enabled children to go to school.
What his critics can’t forget, however, is how he defied some key public health guidelines. An article approving masks written under his name by his staff in mid-July was never approved for publication by the governor. The restrictions he is now dismissing as ineffective, such as local mask mandates and curfews that experts say actually worked, have, in most cases, been imposed by Democratic mayors he hardly speaks to.
However, given the way people admire or despise him, the nuances seem secondary.
He enrags passionate critics who believe he is acting wisely to look after his own interests. They fear that this approach has helped confuse public health messages, the preference for vaccines for the rich, and the deaths of some 34,000 Floridians. “DeathSantis” is what they call him. (Mr. DeSantis declined repeated interview requests for this article.)
But almost at every turn, Mr. DeSantis has used the criticism as an opportunity to become an avatar for national conservatives who enjoy the governor’s willingness to fight. He can score points that his potential Washington minority Republican rivals, including Rubio and Senator Rick Scott, his predecessor as governor, can’t.
“He has taken the wrong approach on some of our most critical issues, with Covid playing a primary role. However, he is considered a front runner for the White House in Republican political circles,” said former representative David Jolly, an ex-Republican who flirting with a possible run for the governor. “He worked his hand perfectly.”