‘Phony narrative’: Ron DeSantis says Donald Trump does not dictate Florida’s virus response
Ron DeSantis. Image via Colin Hackley.

Governor says he's calling the shots, not the White House.

The persistent perception is that Gov. Ron DeSantis is simply Donald Trump‘s man in Tallahassee, but the Governor says that’s a “phony narrative.”

DeSantis, in a one-on-one interview with CBS 4’s Jim DeFede, rejected Monday the proposition that he was “tethered” to the President.

“First of all, that’s just a phony narrative,” DeSantis said.

The Governor continued to express angst in the interview about news coverage, saying “everything that’s presented typically is presented negative.”

Whether that coverage has affected polling is an open question. Though public surveys say DeSantis is down, with people soured on the Governor’s virus response, he says he hasn’t conducted any internal polling to find out.

“I’ve not taken a poll since I’ve been Governor, believe it or not. So I don’t care about them,” DeSantis told DeFede.

“As a leader, you got to do … you’ve got to lead. And particularly at a time when there’s a lot of fear and apprehension, obviously, it’s being driven in certain directions. There’s a lot of partisanship.”

DeSantis did describe the White House as a “great ally” in the fight against the coronavirus.

“I will say that they’ve been a great ally for Florida. I mean, when we’ve needed help. So, for example, some of the hospitals are running low on the remdesivir, which is a therapeutic, because, you know, we had a lot of hospital admission a couple of weeks ago. And there’s a big bureaucratic process involved with that. I was able to pick up the phone, call the President, say, ‘Mr. President, I know they’re supposed to come a week from now. I need it in three days.’ And guess what? They showed up in three days.”

However, it’s not coordination with the White House that will be remembered ultimately from the Governor’s virus response as much as the political aspect. One infamous moment occurred in May when DeSantis, standing with Vice President Mike Pence, essentially declared victory.

“You’ve got a lot of people in your profession who wax poetically for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York,” he said. “Well, hell, we’re eight weeks away from that and it hasn’t happened.”

DeSantis added that “people just don’t want to recognize our success because it challenges their narrative.”

When pressed by DeFede on the soundbite, the Governor was defensive.

“OK, that’s one little clip.”

“But then what about all the actions we are taking during that time? I mean, if I thought it was over, I wouldn’t have set up all the COVID-only nursing facilities. I wouldn’t have done all these new test sites. I wouldn’t have sent, you know, more PPE to the nursing homes. So we continue to act and continue to prepare for the virus to resurge,” DeSantis said.

In the spring, DeSantis tailored much of his virus response to conservative media, with sympathetic ears everywhere from the Fox News Channel to the Clay Travis Show, with blasts galore at the “Acela Media.”

It will be worth watching to see if more local one-on-ones are ceded to state television reporters instead of those national hits in the wake of a seeming recalibration of message strategy.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • S.B. Anthony

    August 4, 2020 at 9:20 am

    “people just don’t want to recognize our success because it challenges their narrative.”

    If this is success, I’d sure hate to see what failure looks like.

    • Nobody

      August 4, 2020 at 9:30 am

      It looks like New York.

      • Tjb

        August 4, 2020 at 9:55 am

        It is worst then NY. NY was blindsided by Covid-19 during the early stages of the pandemic. A lot has been learned since then on how to prevent and treat the virus. DeSantis has been blinded by Politics to properly address the Covid-19 pandemic at the cost of Floridians lives lost.

      • The Gipper

        August 4, 2020 at 10:35 pm

        👍🏻 Gov. Cuomo and NY glaring example of incompetence, unnecessary deaths and gross COVID-19 negligence.

      • Sage Wisdom

        August 7, 2020 at 5:53 pm

        He is doing a great job!! Proud of him for ignoring the haters & the FEAR porn. So many stupid, ignorant people in FL who cannot even read & refuse to listen to the CONTRADICTORY fake information from Fauci, Birx, etc. The CDC website even says MASKS are useless, ffs. But, FL donkeys do not want to listen, they just hide behind their curtains yelling: Everyone get inside! Mask up, lol! Go DeSantis!

  • Frankie M.

    August 4, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    Why does he believe being yoked to the white house is a bad thing? I thought that was his whole shtick.

  • Dee

    August 4, 2020 at 12:28 pm

    After the meeting was over, DeSantis was heard mumbling about the number of new deaths: “It is what it is”………

  • Joe Fatala

    August 4, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA What a joke!!!!!!!!!!!Ronnie boy is one of the Sociopath in Charge’s buddies, just like Putinski. Don’t think it’s true?

    “Mr. President,uh Donnie ol’ pal I know they’re supposed to come a week from now. I need it three days.’ And guess what? They showed up in three days.”

    Sure, Ronnie’s not in Donnie’s pocket…………………..he’s up his butt.

  • Sonja Fitch

    August 4, 2020 at 9:07 pm

    Amen. Duffus Desantis you are the best goptrump sociopath racist scum for traitor trump! Your battle is with Nazi Rick cutting in on your time and space with the goptrump sociopath racist scum traitor trump! Like that zap about how nazi Rick fixed the unemployment system to fail you did today!

  • Booner

    August 5, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    Ron pretends to be his own man, but as everyone in Florida and around the country has seen over the last two years, our Governor is a proud card-carrying member of the Trump Cult and a putz. Not always in that order, mind you.

    Let’s acknowledge some of the ways ways Gov DiSaster has “flattened the curve”.

    First we have the delay and denial of voting rights by regulations designed to suppress the vote which favors Trump.

    Ron also is proud to be responsible for destroying millions of Florida workers and families with lame, sorry-axx excuses for the Employment Commission and the designed- to-fail unemployment website. Donald, Rick, and Marco deliberately screwing Floridians demonstrates a lack of conscience.

    Don’t forget, Ron has promised the alcoholics he will reopen the warehouse brewpubs so they can congregate in a closed room maskless and spread Covid virus from the bars into Florida homes, businesses, schools, and communities.

    Ron is making sure all Florida medical personnel treating Covid get all the mandatory overtime they want. Like I said, our Governor is a Putz..

Comments are closed.


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