Jeff Kottkamp: Now is not to time to second guess the Governor

desantis, ron - hand up
Now is the time to support our Governor — not question his every move.

Another day — another “Did Gov. Ron DeSantis wait too long” headline.

‘The constant criticism and second-guessing of the Governor, while we are right in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, is neither productive nor helpful.

The U.S. Surgeon General said this week will be this generation’s “Pearl Harbor.” When Pearl Harbor was bombed, FDR told the nation that “Yesterday, December 7, 1941 — a date that will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

In the months and years that followed, our nation came together, rallied behind our President, and helped defeat both the Japanese and the Germans in World War II. The months immediately after Pearl Harbor were hardly the time to question what FDR could have done to prevent the attack.

Can you imagine if people had immediately questioned why FDR allowed us to be unprepared for the attack at Pearl Harbor. What if the press questioned the decisions of FDR every day after the attack and political opponents said the deaths at Pearl Harbor were caused by him? That may sound ridiculous — but that is exactly what is happening to Gov. DeSantis.

Don’t like the World War II analogy?  If not, you don’t understand the current threat.

We are at war with a silent and deadly enemy. That enemy threatens the health a safety of every American. About 400,000 Americans died in World War II. If people don’t take the coronavirus threat serious over the next two weeks — the death toll from the virus could exceed the number of lives lost in World War II. I pray that is not the case. I am certain Gov. DeSantis is doing everything he can to minimize the loss of life in our great state.

Now is the time to support our Governor — not question his every move.

When the current crisis is behind us there will be plenty of time to analyze what we did right, and what we could have done better, to respond to the pandemic. While Florida is far better prepared to respond to crisis than most states — the COVID-19 pandemic is a new enemy and there is no existing playbook for how to respond.

The Governor has more than one task when responding to such a crisis. Obviously, job #1 is to fight back the threat and protect lives. But in addition, when you are leading people through such a crisis you must remain calm and prevent panic. Even while you are dealing with the crisis at hand — you must also provide people with hope that “this too shall pass.” That means planning for the back end of the crisis.

The biggest complaint I hear is that Gov. DeSantis should have “shut down” Florida weeks ago. The Governor declared a State of Emergency in Florida on March 9. At the time there were a total of five cases of COVID-19 in our state.

Understanding that the coronavirus is a serious threat to the health and well-being of people over 65 — on March 11 Gov. DeSantis issued an Executive Order severely limiting visitations to nursing homes. This act alone probably saved hundreds of lives.

Two days later the state ordered all public schools to remain closed after spring break.

In the days and weeks that followed, Gov. DeSantis took steps to close bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and parks. As with any emergency response — local governments lead the effort while the State of Florida supports those efforts. Even a few short weeks ago, almost half the counties in our state had no reported cases of COVID-19.

Despite these efforts — some people want more. I understand.


People are scared — and they should be. But frankly, it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) take an act of government for people to use common sense and take responsibility for their actions. It shouldn’t require the Governor to sign an Executive Order for people to understand they need to stay home right now.

Gov. DeSantis understands that the action taken today — will also influence the actions taken the next time we face a similar crisis. Precedent matters. Which is why I appreciate his thoughtful approach. He also understands that we have to have an economic infrastructure in place for the recovery phase of this crisis.

We can’t pay for health care, schools or anything else if we don’t have a thriving private sector when the crisis is behind us. Like it or not, the pandemic and the economy are very much linked.

When all of this is behind us, I’m certain that Gov. DeSantis will be the first to admit that there were things we could have done differently. Hindsight is indeed 20-20. But right now, the pandemic isn’t behind us — we are right in the middle of it. Now is the time to stick together and support our Governor.

United we stand … divided we fall.


Jeff Kottkamp is President of Jeff Kottkamp, P.A. He served as Florida’s 17th Lt. Governor and was acting Governor in June of 2008.

Guest Author


  • Thomas Knapp

    April 6, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    It’s ALWAYS time to question the governor — and every other politician.

    So far, DeSantis seems to have done a better job than most governors vis a vis this particular situation.

    I wish he hadn’t given in even a little to the “shut it all down” death cultists, but I understand that the pressure was intense.

  • No Brainer

    April 6, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Finally, an opinion piece that makes sense. Thank you.

  • Ocean Joe

    April 6, 2020 at 12:43 pm

    Mr. Kottcamp, aren’t you the guy who was just complaining about Colorado ruining your ski vacation because they were taking Covid precautions?

  • Pedro

    April 6, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    What an ass kisser! You would think he would be ashamed to publicly display such a bromance for a fellow conservative. Now is also not the time to support public figures that lie and hide facts from us the people.

  • Nancy Argenziano

    April 6, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Total BS from anothern blind flowing Republican.
    Its the most critical time to question any public servant.This has been a very real problem with Rs, they forget they work for the people and yes they answer anytime, especially at a time that bad decisions cost lives. If he cant take the heat of the questions, then he should not be in that position

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Ron Brackett, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn