Politically, far-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has been under a great deal of pressure in recent weeks. DeSantis, on one hand, has been vehemently criticized by Democrats as well as Never Trump conservatives for being so slow to encourage social distancing in his state — and on the other hand, he is under pressure from Trumpistas to avoid disagreeing with anything that President Donald Trump has to say. Journalist Chris Cillizza, in an April 10 article for CNN’s website, examines the ways in which the coronavirus pandemic is affecting DeSantis politically. And he concludes that DeSantis is not doing his job well.
“Unfortunately for Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis,” Cillizza asserts, “the fight against coronavirus has exposed the fact that he may simply not be up to this moment in history. The latest evidence of that came Thursday, when DeSantis sought to explain his thinking about potentially re-opening schools in the state.”
Cillizza notes how embarrassing DeSantis’ statements on April 9 were. The governor asserted, “This particular pandemic is one where, I don’t think nationwide, there’s been a single fatality under 25. For whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem to threaten, you know, kids.”
As Cillizza points out, such claims are “wrong.”
“According to the CDC,” Cillizza writes, “four people between the ages of 15 and 24 and one person between the ages of one and four have died. CNN has also reported that a newborn died in Connecticut on April 1, and a baby in Illinois who passed away in March whose death is being looked into as the possible result of the coronavirus.”
“This particular pandemic is one where, I don’t think nationwide there’s been a single fatality under 25.” — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
[narrator] That’s wronghttps://t.co/oPdBVFapBw
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) April 10, 2020
Moreover, Cillizza adds, DeSantis glossed over the fact that someone can spread coronavirus while being totally asymptomatic.
DeSantis appears to not know that the reason that schools are closed during the coronavirus pandemic is not because the virus is killing kids in big numbers but rather, that children are demonstrated carriers and vectors of the illness to adults. A kid might get coronavirus and have mild — or no — symptoms at all. But they could pass it to a teacher, a parent or another adult who gets much, much sicker. And that adult could then pass coronavirus to more people. And on and on we go.”
After hesitating to issue a stay-at-home order in Florida, Cillizza notes, DeSantis finally issued one on April 1 — after, it seems, deciding that doing so would not offend Trump.
“Moments like this one are clarifying,” Cillizza asserts. “When a fearful and anxious public turns to its government for guidance and leadership, there’s nowhere for people like the governor of a state to hide from the massive responsibility. You either step up to meet the moments — Govs. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Andy Beshear (D-Kentucky), to name two — or you shrink in the face of them. DeSantis is a glaring example of the latter.”