Ron DeSantis to masked students: Time to end ‘COVID theater’
Ron DeSantis gets a legal smackdown over Florida's 2021 voting reform bill. Image via AP.

DeSantis at USF
His spokeswoman attributed the situation to two years 'of propaganda that has terrified and manipulated young people.'

A visibly annoyed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis admonished a group of students for wearing face masks at an indoor news conference Wednesday, saying it was time to stop what he called “this COVID theater.”

DeSantis, a fierce opponent of virus mask and vaccine mandates, approached the students and asked them to remove their masks as they awaited the Republican governor at the news conference at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

“You do not have to wear those masks. I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve got to stop with this COVID theater. So if you wanna wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous,” he said, letting out an audible sigh and shaking his head.

DeSantis is running for reelection and is considered to be a potential 2024 GOP presidential candidate. His opposition to masks and vaccines has drawn national attention, and his administration has banned mask mandates in schools.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately return an email seeking comment. His spokeswoman, Christina Pushaw, has tweeted defenses of the governor’s comments, writing “I mean, someone had to say it, after 2 years of propaganda that terrified and manipulated young people. Breathe free, feel safe and be happy.”

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late last month eased its masking guidelinesthough is still recommending masks indoors in areas it considers high risk. Hillsborough County, where the college is located, is deemed high risk by the CDC.

The incident drew criticism of DeSantis over social media. U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Florida Democrat, tweeted “Shame on you, Governor DeSantis, for berating students who choose to wear masks and for calling the ongoing #COVID pandemic ‘theater.’”

State Rep. Angie Nixon of Jacksonville called the Governor’s actions “bullying” and a “blatant disregard for parental rights today.” DeSantis had penalized school districts that required students wear masks as a disregard for parents’ rights.

“For a promoter of parental rights and freedom, Governor DeSantis’ actions have consistently shown otherwise: no you can’t learn the truth, no you can’t say ‘gay,’ no you can’t choose whether or not to be a parent, and no you actually can’t stay safe if you want to,” Nixon said, according to a release.

Associated Press


  • Kathy

    March 2, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    Desantis’ bullying techniques rival Trump’s. Two peas in a pod. If this happened to his children all hell would have broken loose. Shame on you and how dare you? I hope these kids and their parents speak up.

  • RonDeSantisSucks

    March 2, 2022 at 6:07 pm

    I just want to point out that DeSantis’ actions probably violated Florida’s parental bill of rights. If it is up to the parents to decide if their children should be masked, his request that they take them off violates their parent’s rights to determine the proper upbringing of their children.

    • Kathy

      March 2, 2022 at 6:09 pm


    • Antonio

      March 2, 2022 at 6:33 pm

      Obviously that was for those that didn’t want to wear the mask. He literally said wear them if you want to. It’s called choice.

      • RonDeSantisSucks

        March 2, 2022 at 6:58 pm

        According to the parent’s bill of rights, it’s the parent’s rights, not the children’s. And give me a break, did you watch the video? He berated those students.

        • Antonio

          March 3, 2022 at 3:35 pm

          Can you provide the section on the bill you are referring to? What I’ve seen on those bills mostly relates to young children, but I am willing to discuss it if there’s deeper and more widespread positions within it.

      • Phil Morton

        March 3, 2022 at 7:22 am

        I missed the part where he said “If you don’t want to wear the mask you can take it off”. You’re trying to justify bullying.

        • Antonio

          March 3, 2022 at 3:31 pm

          Then you weren’t listening. He clearly says wear them if you want to.

        • Antonio

          March 3, 2022 at 4:09 pm

          Apologies, Phil, I misread your comment. That’s on me.

          Still disagree, however. Wrote a longer reply, but it’s awaiting moderation for some reason. Maybe it will pop up later. If not, can continue discussing tomorrow.

    • rod

      March 3, 2022 at 6:58 am

      sure did

  • Anne

    March 2, 2022 at 6:52 pm

    Jealous man baby can’t handle when even the kids can think for themselves!

  • PeterH

    March 2, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    Ron DeSantis a “bully” after video surfaced of him curtly asking a group of students to take off their masks before a press conference in Tampa.
    “You do not have to wear those masks,” DeSantis told the students as he took the podium at the University of South Florida on Wednesday. “Please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve got to stop with this Covid theater. So, if you want to wear it, fine — but this is ridiculous.”

    The students in attendance at this event were high school students of minor age. Where does this governor get off telling minors what they can and cannot do!

    Welcome to DeSantis and Trump’s “FREEDUMB STATE OF FLORIDA”

    • Antonio

      March 3, 2022 at 3:30 pm

      Logic from PedoH:

      Little kids can have sexually inappropriate discussions, but don’t you dare tell nearly adult aged students that they can take off masks if they want to.

      • PeterH

        March 3, 2022 at 3:49 pm

        Making stuff up and name calling is all you have left!

        You must be connected to the Trump-DeSantis bully team!

        • Antonio

          March 3, 2022 at 4:02 pm

          As long as you keep insisting that little children can have sexually inappropriate discussions in classrooms as you do here:

          I will absolutely call you PedoH. It’s something I don’t generally do (you won’t find it , but look all you want), but I will make an exception for you because it is absolutely disgusting that you keep insisting it’s ok for children to have those discussions.

          Btw, your projection fails as name calling and talking BS is ALL you do. We can see it on your posts.

  • Andrew Finn

    March 2, 2022 at 8:29 pm

    Emperor DeSantis is one of a few jackasses in this world who can actually “out-jackass” himself time after time. No words can truly describe him (“piece of shit” is a good one, but barely touches the surface) describing his moronic comments and actions. I have been a Republican voter for decades, but this November I cannot wait to vote for anybody (and I mean ANYBODY) who runs against this idiot and try to flush this turd once and for all.

  • Henry Schwartz

    March 2, 2022 at 10:03 pm

    What an a..hole!

  • J.h. Wright

    March 2, 2022 at 11:30 pm

    DeSantis is after one thing GOP votes. Once a clown always a clown! Florida voters should vote for anyone but him, someone should have stood up and told him to watch yourself Karen!

  • rod

    March 3, 2022 at 7:00 am

    Free state of Florida! Wear it or don’t wear it. Mind your damn business though. Respect the choices of your constituents

  • slb

    March 3, 2022 at 7:19 am

    Der Dwarf being a punk again.

  • Concern Citizen

    March 3, 2022 at 9:08 am

    Christina Pushaw vomits hateful propaganda that creates a false reality. Her playbook for propaganda is from the Mein Kampf a document that promoted the Big Lie. For a women that professes to be a Catholic, perhaps it is time for her to repent for the sins of lying.

  • Zhombre

    March 9, 2022 at 11:08 am

    Bravo 🙌 Governor DeSantis! Screw his detractors. Nasty little cicadas.

Comments are closed.


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