Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis responded on Thursday to critics who are angry at him for telling high school students to take off their masks ahead of an announcement he made at the University of South Florida this week.
The GOP governor included footage of the event in a new video that he tweeted with the caption, “The political science show cannot go on. It’s curtain call for COVID theater.”
The political science show cannot go on.
It’s curtain call for COVID theater.
— Ron DeSantis
The Daily Wire notes:
DeSantis’ video showed the original interaction between DeSantis and the students, and then cut to video of Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address – where almost no one was wearing a mask following Monday’s rollback of the Capitol Hill mask mandate.
“Don’t follow the science, follow the political science,” the video continued, showing photos of Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams smiling without her mask — surrounded by a classroom full of elementary school students who were still forced to mask up for class.
The video went on to show Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garrett (D), mask-free at the last two football games of the NFL season — and ended with the news update announcing that a number of Democratic governors had gotten onboard with the rolling back of statewide mask mandates.
On Wednesday, DeSantis visited the university to announce funding for a new cybersecurity education program.
Some students then proceeded to take off their masks, but some parents were angered by it.
"I took mine off."
"Did you feel pressure by the governor to do that?"
This senior's mom says she's very upset and it was "shocking" for Gov. DeSantis to ask her son & the other high school students to take off their masks.
— Justin Schecker
“I would tell (the governor) to stop bullying kids.”
Kevin Brown says Gov. DeSantis had no right to tell his son and the other high school students to take off their masks.
His son decided to keep his mask on during the press conference at USF.
— Justin Schecker
The Republican governor has regularly pushed back on mask-wearing, but his response was ripped by media outlets that normally found fault with his pandemic policies, per the Daily Wire:
The from NBC affiliate WFLA read, “‘This is ridiculous’: DeSantis scolds students for wearing face masks during USF visit.”
A from the same outlet read, “‘Stop bullying kids’: Students, parents respond to Gov. DeSantis telling students to take off their masks.”
“Ron DeSantis just yelled at students for wearing masks. This is not a leader. This is a bully. A petulant child. Shameful,” .
“Here’s Ron DeSantis scolding kids about wearing masks because he’s terrible. DeSantis should resign over this alone. So weak and pathetic,” .
CNN’s headline read, “Ron DeSantis just yelled at high school students for wearing masks.”
Last month, he parents should be able to sue school districts if their child “was illegally forced-masked this year in Florida.” He cited “any negative effects of it, if they have speech problems, if they have emotional problems, physical problems.”
“They flouted the law and they should be liable for the consequences of their actions,” DeSantis added.
Also Tuesday, DeSantis announced that the state’s surgeon general has issued new guidelines for Florida employees, giving them more freedom from mask requirements.
“Simply relying on outdated CDC guidance when the experience has completely undercut that is not really a reasonable thing to do at this point,” DeSantis said in a video posted online.