Ron DeSantis blames ‘vaccine hesitancy’ on Joe Biden, Kamala Harris
Gov. Ron DeSantis

ron desantis
DeSantis gives Donald Trump the credit.

Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested Tuesday that President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have contributed to “vaccine hesitancy.”

The Governor made those comments on the Mark Levin radio program, contrasting unfavorably the Joe Biden administration with that of former President Donald Trump.

When Levin asked if Biden had any “role” in vaccines being expanded universally by the end of next month (a Trump promise echoed today by Biden), DeSantis downplayed the current administration’s contribution to the virus fight.

“No! And to the contrary, back when Trump was saying that, Biden and Harris were saying this was a bad vaccine,” DeSantis contended. “They were downplaying it. They were saying it wasn’t going to be effective. That it was dangerous! And actually, I think they’ve contributed to some of the vaccine hesitancy that we’ve seen throughout, you know, parts of our society.”

While polls have found vaccine hesitancy falling overall, opposition among Republicans remains stubbornly strong. A poll last month from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 42% of Republicans say they probably or definitely will not get the shot, compared with 17% of Democrats — a 25-point split.

While demand for vaccinations still far outstrips the available supply in most parts of the country, there are already signs in some places of slowing registration. And the impact is expected to grow when supply begins to surpass demand by late April or early May, said Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

Republicans have been skeptical of the pandemic all along. AP-NORC polls have shown they worry less than Democrats about infection and voice more opposition to restrictions and mask-wearing.

Some have placed the blame for vaccine hesitancy on Trump, who spent much of the pandemic minimizing the dangers posed by the virus, even after he was hospitalized and had to be given supplemental oxygen and experimental treatments. Trump did receive the vaccine before leaving office, but did so privately and secretly, declining to disclose the fact until this month.

And though he urged Americans to be vaccinated in a recent speech, he has done nothing else to promote the efforts and is notably absent from an ad campaign that features former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, along with their wives.

DeSantis, on the other hand, credits Trump with vaccines even being a reality.

“And I can tell you the distribution has followed the consistent pattern and schedule from December to the present. There has not been anything done that has caused any major difference than what we were expecting. And I think the credit goes to President Trump.”

“If we’d had a Biden, or heck, if we’d had some establishment Republican, they would have gotten drowned out in bureaucracy. This would never have gotten done,” DeSantis said.

“It would have taken two years to get the vaccine. We would have already gotten natural herd immunity by then,” the Governor added.

“If Biden had his way, we’d all be living under some sort of lockdown,” DeSantis added, going on to express “fear that they’re going to use these variants” to justify that course of action.

DeSantis has not gone out of his way to message with the current administration on the virus fight. When Vice President Kamala Harris came to Jacksonville to tout the American Rescue Plan virus relief package this year, the governor was downstate at a gas station ribbon cutting.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

A.G. Gancarski

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 [email protected]


12 comments

  • Sir Farty Fartsalot

    April 6, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    Biggest idiot ever elected governor.

    Reply

    • Jim

      April 7, 2021 at 9:04 pm

      Best governor Florida had had in many years

      Reply

      • Josie

        April 8, 2021 at 1:36 pm

        Agree with that!

        Reply

  • Frankie M.

    April 6, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Funny how DeSantis never instituted a mask mandate, encouraged social distancing, or even came up with a “plan” for vaccine distribution. The no-plan plan is really just a free for all for anybody out there willing to get a shot. Think how many more Trumpers here in Floriduh would’ve gotten the shot if they’re hero and his sycophant in Tally hadn’t intentionally downplayed the virus. “It’ll go away” he said. Yes it will no thanks to him.

    Reply

  • trump lost

    April 7, 2021 at 7:04 am

    “It’s not our fault that we are failing to get people vaccinated in Florida….it’s their fault!” Typical trumplican strategy; assume no responsibility, deflect by blaming others, offer no solutions.

    As a side, “if we’d had some establishment Republican”; note to my republican friends, your GOP is being torn apart by the trumplican party. They don’t represent your priorities or philosophies. Most importantly, they don’t want you in “their” party.

    Reply

  • James Robert Miles

    April 7, 2021 at 8:04 am

    DeSayan reveals once again, just how F’ing stupid he really is! Unlike his buddy Trump. the Biden/Harris administration has brought this pandemic under control. no thanks to DeSatan! Floriduh can be sooo proud to have a moron for a Governor, the worst in Floriduh history! ANYBODY but DeSatan in 2022! We need a Governor with a brain not the Trump lovin’ DeSatan who follows his masters voice!

    Reply

  • Thomas palmer

    April 7, 2021 at 8:49 am

    Let me get this straight. Republicans are not getting vaccinated because they listened to Biden allegedly raise questions about vaccine effectiveness and not because of the conspiracy theory-driven tales of government control and doctor profiteering.

    Reply

    • Barbara Griffin

      April 7, 2021 at 2:25 pm

      I think you have about summed it up! Don’t you feel you have landed in an alternative universe?

      Reply

  • PeterH

    April 7, 2021 at 8:55 am

    DeSantis’s failing attempt at spin. Our governor needs to take some lessons from Kelly Ann Conjob!

    Reply

    • Josh

      April 10, 2021 at 10:16 am

      There isn’t any failure though. Florida is vaccinating millions of people. 8 in 10 Senior citizens have already been vaccinated and the vast majority of covid related hospitilizations and deaths are among this group. The majority of them vote Republican in Florida.

      Reply

  • Martin

    April 9, 2021 at 8:49 pm

    Please spare me dearhsanris are u thinking with a clear mind. We need you to help encourage foljs ti vaccinate nor run ir down

    Reply

  • Josh

    April 10, 2021 at 10:14 am

    To be clear: the vast majority of high risk people are getting vaccinated in Florida and the majority of lower risk people are going to get vaccinated. These articles are premature and primarily meant to dehumanize those with right leaning political views, which doesn’t help encourage vaccinations btw.

    Reply

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