Ron DeSantis laments the politicization of masks -- which he's fought throughout the pandemic

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lamented that masks had become politicized as the pandemic drags on.

The Republican governor has seen his approval ratings drop as COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths skyrocket in his state, and he remains engaged in a legal fight over his executive order banning local mask mandates despite months of rising case numbers.

"I don't know why the masks have politics around it," DeSantis said. "Let the parent make the decision that's best for their kids. If you want the masks, do it, if you don't, don't -- that's fine."

Polls have consistently shown Republicans oppose mask mandates, which public health experts say is necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in indoor settings, while Democrats tend to favor masking, social distancing and other safety measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

"We have unions involved, and the same unions that wanted schools closed all of last year," DeSantis said. "Remember, we were in court last year at this time because they sued me to close the schools. We were getting kids back in school, we understood how important that was for parents and kids to be learning and all this stuff."