Joe Henderson: Now is no time to play politics with COVID-19
Supermarket sweep: Ron DeSantis already has a wish list for federal COVID-19 relief funds. Image via Colin Hackley.

Sure, we have a polarized political atmosphere but rise above it all.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has been more than a little sensitive and dismissive to those critical of how he has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. Maybe the pressure of trying to guide a divided state through an uncooperative virus has him on edge.

Whatever the case, it’s time to turn down the volume and look everywhere, even across the political aisle, for solutions. That doesn’t seem to be part of his plan, however.

At a time when it’s vital for the best and brightest minds in this nation and its government to work together, DeSantis has all but told President Joe Biden to stay the (bleep) out of Florida.

Why is that? Because someone in the Biden administration apparently floated the idea of a travel ban to cut down the virus spread. If that happened, it could sink the already crippled Florida travel industry, true.

However, it is not going to happen, and DeSantis knows that — or at least he should.

Even in a pandemic, though, thou shalt not pass up on the chance to score cheap political points. That’s why the Governor has grabbed every megaphone to shout that the President should put that ban where the sun doesn’t shine.

“Biden is a lockdowner. His advisers are lockdowners. Lockdowns don’t work,” DeSantis said on (of course) Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures.

DeSantis threw this in for good measure: “We’re not turning back, and they will not be able to get away with targeting Florida.”

To believe the President of the United States would “target” Florida sounds like high-level paranoia. That is, unless, of course, it’s political bluster with an eye toward 2024 and the presidential race. I bet it’s the latter — playing politics with a pandemic.

While Florida appears to be making progress against the virus, we would be a lot further along if Donald Trump hadn’t treated COVID-19 like a gnat to brush from his shoulder. He let politics overpower the public good, and DeSantis is tiptoeing up to that edge as well.

When he heard Biden might consider using FEMA and the National Guard to help distribute vaccines to pharmacies, DeSantis went on a jag.

He didn’t know the details because there weren’t details, but why let that get in the way of a good rant about “FEMA camps” and federal bureaucrats. I suppose that beat picking up the phone and asking, “Hey, what’s going on?”

The Biden administration can help, you know.

DeSantis complains Florida needs more vaccine, but that wouldn’t be a problem if Trump (yeah, him) cooperated with the transition. Biden has been in office for three weeks, and this pandemic has been raging for nearly a year.

Maybe DeSantis could show some of that bipartisan spirit he flashed early on in his administration. He shouldn’t give two hoots about potential damage to his ambitions by cooperating with the other side. The people who squawk loudest about bipartisanship are the problem.

Sure, we have a polarized political atmosphere, but rise above it all. See if it’s possible to work together before deciding you can’t.

Joe Henderson

I have a 45-year career in newspapers, including nearly 42 years at The Tampa Tribune. Florida is wacky, wonderful, unpredictable and a national force. It's a treat to have a front-row seat for it all.


  • Ron Ogden

    February 15, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    “Sure, we have a polarized political atmosphere, but rise above it all.”

    I don’t seem to recall such words from this corner four years ago, or three, or two, or one, or six months. . .or last week. But now that DeSantis is kickin’ b–t, it is time to stop battling and play nice, the left seems to think.

  • Claude Kirk

    February 16, 2021 at 3:58 am

    Joe Henderson you are entitled to your opinion. Despite your 45 years in a leftist dominated career thats all it is Joe. An opinion.
    Probley a biased political leftist leaning opinion Joe based on your Trump Deraingement Syndrom.
    You are lucky to have your soap box here to stand up on and scream at the sky Joe but that does not make you correct.

  • Sonja Fitch

    February 16, 2021 at 5:53 am

    Duffus Desantis is trying to compete with Nazi Rick for the worst of the GOPQ and the goptrump death cult sociopaths! While their reality show plays Floridians are dying. Stay out of Florida. There is no concerted effort to curve the pandemic. The big 3, Wear a mask,.Social Distance, Wash your hands ought to be the damn standard ! It Fing works! But Duffus Desantis is acting all “bully tough”. Vote Democrat up and down ballot for the elections in 2022.

  • DeSantis Ricks

    February 16, 2021 at 6:25 am

    DeSantis has done a better job managing the China Virus compared to any other Governor in the nation. That is a fact. He doesn’t need to listen to the China puppets like Joe Biden or Joe Henderson. That would be a huge mistake.

  • James Robert Miles

    February 16, 2021 at 8:08 am

    @ DeSantis R…. Based on what? Just your opinion? You so funny! DeSatan has been a complete disaster and is just another Trump butt-kisser, another lying idiot!

  • Amy Roberts

    February 16, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    DeSantis should be investigated for cooking the books on Covid Stats and all those that helped him.

Comments are closed.


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