Gov. Ron DeSantis ramped up his rhetorical offensive against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the same day Florida set a record for COVID-19 diagnoses.
The Governor has already banned mask mandates in Florida schools, meaning that local districts cannot require them, but they can be worn. Nonetheless, on Saturday night, he blasted the federal government.
During a Fox News hit on Unfiltered with Dan Bongino, DeSantis suggested the CDC would want to mask students “indefinitely,” adding that schools were “perfect” for mask-optional policies.
“One of the dangers I feel with having mandatory masks at this point — I think a lot of those bureaucratic authorities are going to say ‘hey, we mask for COVID, flu is more dangerous for kids than COVID. Maybe they need to mask the kids every flu season.'”
“And then it just never ends. And I think that if the CDC had its way, I think they’d probably just have kids in masks indefinitely.”
DeSantis, who has said he won’t see Florida kids “muzzled,” said, “this is not a partisan issue.”
“Parents have to deal with this in real-time. Just like last summer, there was such a hysteria because Florida was going to go to school in person five days a week, and the media was raising a ruckus,” DeSantis said.
He went on to reiterate his contention that parents will resist masks because they want their kids to be “normal” and “the schools are really the perfect place to do it because they are one of the lowest risk environments we have for COVID, and the data on that is very clear.”
DeSantis’ executive order banning mask mandates suggests districts that don’t comply may have their funding cut.
The order authorized Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran to “pursue all legal means available to ensure school districts adhere to Florida law, including but not limited to withholding state funds from non-compliant school board(s) violating any rules or agency action” taken at the Governor’s direction. The order went into effect immediately.
“If the State Board of Education determines that a district school board is unwilling or unable to comply with the law, the State Board shall have the authority to, among other things, withhold the transfer of state funds, discretionary grant funds, discretionary lottery funds, or any other funds specified as eligible for this purpose by the Legislature until the school district complies with the law or state board rule and declare the school district ineligible for competitive grants.”
Even as the Governor continues to message against virus restrictionists, his political committee continues to market the message.
An email Saturday from the Friends of Ron DeSantis political committee linked lockdowns and globalism in a message that sounds tailored to the 2024 GOP primary voters in early states.
“These politicians and government bureaucrats got a taste of power before, and now they’re hungry for more,” read the text, purportedly signed by DeSantis. “These lockdown politicians are globalists who refuse to hold China accountable. They want to control you, and if we don’t stand strong now, who knows what they’ll try to take away next.”