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4 Jan, 2022 16:10

Florida governor blasts hypocrisy of ‘lockdown politicians’

Ron DeSantis hammers politicians who impose lockdowns but vacation in his mandate-free state
Florida governor blasts hypocrisy of ‘lockdown politicians’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has boasted that his refusal to enact “draconian” coronavirus restrictions has made his state a top destination for politicians looking to escape the rules they put in place at home.

“If I had a dollar for every lockdown politician who decided to escape to Florida over the last two years, I’d be a pretty doggone wealthy man, let me tell you,” DeSantis joked at a press conference on Monday. “I mean, Congresspeople, mayors, governors … you name it.”

“It’s interesting the reception that some of these folks will get in Florida,” the governor continued, “because I think a lot of Floridians say ‘wait a minute you’re bashing us because we’re not doing your draconian policies, and yet we’re the first place you want to flee to, to basically to be able to enjoy life.’”

DeSantis spoke a day after photos and videos posted on social media showed New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attending a crowded bar in Miami, foregoing her face mask as she rubbed shoulders with Hollywood celebrities and drag queens. Several weeks earlier, Ocasio-Cortez, who has consistently supported mask mandates throughout the pandemic, stated that she couldn’t turn up to vote on Capitol Hill due to “the ongoing public health emergency.” 

Though many visitors to Florida are likely drawn as much by the winter sun as DeSantis’ lax Covid policies, the governor said that “there are probably about a half dozen governors who had restrictions on their people and then were spotted at various points in Florida.” 

“Some of it’s been public, some of it‘s not been public, but you know people tell me these things,” he said, adding, “I’m happy though that Florida’s a place where people know they can come and they can live like normal people, they can make their own decisions.”

Florida recorded 85,000 cases of Covid-19 on Monday, the highest daily tally since the pandemic began. DeSantis’ refusal to implement masking and vaccine mandates has seen him consistently lambasted by Democrats, who blame the state’s high case numbers on these policies.  

However, cases of Covid-19 spiked across the US as winter set in, and just a week beforehand, New York – where masks or proof of vaccination are required to enter most public spaces – was recording more cases every day than Florida and more than three times as many deaths, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. Nationwide, deaths and hospitalizations remain lower than during previous surges in cases, with the Omicron variant causing mild to moderate symptoms in most people it infects, according to multiple public health agencies.