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EDITORIAL: Gov. Ron DeSantis Puts Personal Political Ambitions Above Floridians’ Lives

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Yesterday, the South Florida Sun Sentinel published a scathing editorial, slamming Gov. Ron DeSantis for endangering Floridians for his own national political benefit.

The editorial board wrote: “He’s a ruthless politician who will knowingly sacrifice anything, especially truth, to his incandescent personal ambition.”

This comes as his conspiracy-peddling surgeon general discouraged healthy children from getting vaccinated. Gov. DeSantis also recently went viral for bullying Tampa high school students.

His national political ambitions have come at the cost of Floridians, as Gov. DeSantis refuses to expand Medicaid and is supporting a plan to defund local school districts and counties working to mitigate the spread of COVID.

South Florida Sun Sentinel Editorial Board: DeSantis sacrifices Floridians for his personal ambition

[…]

When the next pandemic strikes, America will need a president who acts wisely, based on science and not politics. That president should prefer to err on the side of safety rather than popularity.

Gov. Ron DeSantis would not be that president.

Although he doesn’t admit it, DeSantis’ craving for the White House is the most transparent ambition since Julius Caesar theatrically declined a crown, and it’s already dreadfully clear what kind of public health president he would be.

Consider what happened Monday. DeSantis’ surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, announced that the Department of Health will not recommend healthy children get COVID-19 vaccinations and will in fact recommend against it. That was another irresponsible act in DeSantis’ full-bore campaign to undercut common-sense health measures as invasions of “freedom.”

As governor, DeSantis has dealt with the coronavirus with less responsibility than Trump did at the White House. But Florida’s fringe surgeon general would likely become the nation’s fringe surgeon general if President DeSantis could promote him.

Doubling down on a reckless, radical agenda, Ladapo now says that healthy Florida children age 5 to 11 should not continue to get a CDC-approved vaccines, making Florida the first state to actively discourage kids from being protected.

[…]

The zealotry of DeSantis and Ladapo for the “freedom” to go maskless — and now unvaccinated — in the face of a still-lethal virus is red meat for the governor’s right-wing followers, and it’s rocket fuel for his lucrative national fundraising.

He exposed the sheer hypocrisy during a notorious photo op where he bullied a group of Tampa high school students into removing masks, scoffing at “COVID theater.” Is it a matter of personal choice and parental control, as he keeps saying, or not?

[…]

DeSantis previewed a dystopian future as he took his campaign for the White House to the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando.

Arriving with a rock star’s welcome, he continued demonizing Dr. Anthony Fauci, president Biden’s chief medical adviser, for his tireless efforts to protect Americans from COVID-19. He denounced Australia and Canada as threats to freedom for their efforts to control the pandemic. He was too busy demonizing medical science that day to say a word about Russia’s diabolical invasion of Ukraine.

DeSantis is running like Trump did in 2016, as a divider rather than a uniter, writing off moderate and liberal voters whom he has no more intention of representing in Washington than he has in Tallahassee.

With COVID-19, DeSantis dragged Florida deeper into harm’s way. He signed legislation to prohibit private employers, schools and other public agencies from imposing vaccine or mask mandates. He abdicated his duty as a leader by refusing to say whether he’d had a booster shot. He encouraged lax practices by nursing homes and other health care providers by signing and extending a law generally barring COVID-related lawsuits. He continues to disparage best practices.

[…]

He’s a ruthless politician who will knowingly sacrifice anything, especially truth, to his incandescent personal ambition.

Simply put, if you liked having Trump in the White House, you’ll love DeSantis.

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