(The Center Square) – At a Tuesday news conference announcing new legislative proposals to expand teacher hiring, Gov. Ron DeSantis pushed back against the narrative that mask and vaccine mandates prevented the spread of COVID-19.
“We banned the masks in Florida with the legislature with the Parents Bill of Rights and other actions,” DeSantis said. Mask mandates weren’t “grounded in data, not grounded in evidence, it was basically the current thing people would put in their Twitter profile a mask and a syringe, it was like their identity, and it was ridiculous.”
Likely referring to the CDC, federal health officials, and pharmaceutical companies, he said, “They lied to us about the MNRA shot. They said if you take it, you will not get COVID. That is false. That is not true, and they continue to say even now when the evidence is so overwhelming. That’s not only not true but people that have multiple boosters, you’re definitely at risk of getting it [COVID], there’s no question about that.
“Time and time again you’ve seen ideology playing over data and evidence. Then what happens is they will say something like ‘six weeks of masks will end COVID.’ So that’s what they claim. It doesn’t happen. Then what they’ll do is they will move the goal posts and say, ‘well, only 95% wore it so …’ and they will constantly shift [their claims] because they will never admit their ideology was incorrect.”
DeSantis called that “dangerous.”
“That’s a problem with our society we’re grappling with and what I’ve said in the state of Florida, because we’ve taken on woke corporations, we’ve taken on ESG, obviously in the classroom, we’ve battled a lot of ideologies, but what I’ve said is that the state of Florida is the place where woke goes to die,” he said. “We are not going to let this state descend into some type of woke Dumpster fire. We’ll be following common sense; we’re going to be following facts.”
Since DeSantis has been governor, the state has banned mask and COVID-19 vaccine mandates and required organizations to comply with state law or fine them like what was done with the Special Olympics earlier this summer. He’s also fought against the Biden administration’s abrupt decision to no longer provide monoclonal treatments to Floridians.
DeSantis has also taken on China and what he calls “woke” corporations by changing how the state invests the proceeds of its retirement system investment plan and signed corporate espionage bills into law toughening penalties for stealing trade secrets and imposing greater disclosure requirements on sources of foreign grants for university, medical and high-tech researchers.
He’s also taken on Disney’s special tax status after it sought to defeat a parental rights in education bill, and is taking on big banks implementing ESG policies.
While DeSantis maintains that Florida is one of the freest states in the U.S., one of his Democratic challengers, Agriculture Secretary Nikki Fried, often refers to him as a “tyrant” and “dictator.”