Other Governors may be worried about the current pandemic, but Gov. Ron DeSantis started and finished Tuesday in victory lap mode.
DeSantis began the day on “Fox and Friends,” serving up red meat about skeptics, such as the “Acela Media,” who falsely prophesied that COVID-19 would hit Florida like it did New York.
He ended the day in Tallahassee, again confident the state has in fact “flattened the curve” and mocking those who doubted his steady hand at the wheel.
“You go back a month, month and a half, report after report saying it was just a matter of time that Florida’s hospital system would be completely overwhelmed,” DeSantis said.
“Those predictions have been false. Our work is succeeding. We have flattened the curve,” the Governor said, noting an increase in available beds since the cancellation of elective surgeries last month.
“Those predictions were made time and time and time again, and they were wrong,” the Governor thundered. “We did not go the way of Italy. We did not go the way of New York City.”
“Did you guys say that Florida hospitals would be overrun?” DeSantis said to a Miami Herald reporter.
“A lot of this is politically motivated. A lot of the outlets have clear agendas,” DeSantis said, noting Florida outperformed much of the country, and he is putting “facts before a preferred narrative” that would say otherwise.
DeSantis decried “a narrative created that Florida is about to be capsized by a wave of sick people,” defending his administration’s tactics, even as his dynamic with the media likely won’t be improved by Tuesday’s performance.
The current crisis has seen the Governor on the defensive, with media sniping at him for everything from improper PPE protocol to a lack of social distancing at media availabilities.
On Tuesday, the Governor got a chance to give a little back. At times, his voice tensed up, a measure of his frustration with a media disenchanted with access and the administration narrative.
Although “Fox and Friends” did not ask about the exclusion of Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried from the task force, reporters did. But the Governor defended himself, saying he has multiple Democrats on the task force.
“Do you know — you don’t even know if I have Democrats on the — of course I have Democrats on the task force,” DeSantis interrupted himself. “Were you not watching the last six weeks the three most Democratic counties in Florida? We’ve poured probably 75 percent of our time and resources in that three, not because party matters, it doesn’t when you have situations like this. You’ve got to rise above the partisanship.”
“I have not been political with any of this stuff,” DeSantis added, saying he has worked with Democrats in recovery, a narrative certain to be disputed by Democrats.
“When you’re in these situations,” DeSantis said, “you’ve got to work for the common good.”