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Gov. DeSantis clarifies namecheck of Osama bin Laden in school reopening pitch

Governor was not likening danger of schools to counterterrorism measures.

The Governor created a viral clip Wednesday when he compared the effort to reopen Florida schools to the Navy Seals taking out former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, but he stressed that he wasn’t saying schools are as dangerous as counterterrorism.

Addressing reporters after a roundtable Thursday in the Cabinet meeting room in Tallahassee, Gov. Ron DeSantis said the reference was intended to be “inspiration” as school administrators, staff, teachers, parents, and students prepare to navigate the “mission” of resuming in-person education.

“It was more about inspiration and figuring out a way to get it done rather than anything about comparing the danger of this and that,” the Governor said in response to a reporter’s question. “Obviously that’s a much different situation.”

DeSantis asserted that the Superintendent of Martin County “had an interview and she basically told them that they had a mission and they just had to figure out a way to accomplish it.”

“So here we are, we have a mission to provide these options to our students,” DeSantis said.

“We’re going to approach it in the same way. We’re going to make sure that the parents who want the virtual have it, who want in-person have it. We know that it’s a technically challenging time, there’s obstacles, but we know we’re going to overcome it.”

On Wednesday during an address to the state, the Governor quoted a local school official as he said school reopening was “a mission akin to a Navy Seal operation.”

DeSantis said that “just as the Seals surmounted obstacles to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, so too will the Martin County school system find a way to provide parents with a meaningful choice of in-person instruction or continued distance learning.”

The Governor has been a staunch advocate of reopening schools, noting that if his children were old enough to attend brick and mortar schools, then they would be in attendance.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at AG@FloridaPolitics.com

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