DeSantis Pushes Back Big Time on Critics Who Are Angry He Told Students to Ditch Masks

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 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.

“You do not have to wear those masks,” DeSantis said. “I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is, this is ridiculous.”

Some students then proceeded to take off their masks, but some parents were angered by it.

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 headline from NBC affiliate WFLA read, “‘This is ridiculous’: DeSantis scolds students for wearing face masks during USF visit.”

follow-up article 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,” @meidastouch tweeted.

Here’s Ron DeSantis scolding kids about wearing masks because he’s terrible. DeSantis should resign over this alone. So weak and pathetic,” @funder added.

CNN’s headline read, “Ron DeSantis just yelled at high school students for wearing masks.”

Last month, he said 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.