Ron DeSantis tells Tucker Carlson he scolded masked high schoolers for their own good
Ron DeSantis. Image via Fox News Channel

Ron Desantis - Fox News
"I didn't want them to be thinking they were told to do this by me."

On Thursday night, Gov. Ron DeSantis said his scolding of kids for wearing masks at a press conference this week was really in their interest.

The Governor, appearing on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on the Fox News Channel, observed a disparity between adults without masks and high school students who were wearing cloth masks, objects of repeated ire for the mask-agnostic Governor.

“None of the adults were wearing masks, and it seemed to me someone told those kids they had to do it,” contended DeSantis.

“I didn’t want them to be thinking they were told to do this by me,” DeSantis added. “Because I certainly wouldn’t do that.”

DeSantis also rejected the characterization of his tone as “bullying,” saying that real bullying involved actions like “locking kids out of school” and “kicking people out of work because of vaccine mandates.”

The Governor repeated his desire to eliminate “two-tier” societies, where subgroups like “servers” or “kids” are forced to wear masks.

As he has contended previously, he believes they should be “liberated” from that burden, which he said exemplify “hierarchy.”

This employment of class-conscious tropes during the Tucker Carlson interview was the Governor’s latest attempt to reheat his latest self-created controversy, in which he greeted young people backdropping him at a Tampa presser with the mask commandment.

“You do not have to wear those masks,” DeSantis told the teens. “I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything and we’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”

DeSantis has proven adept at turning these moments into fundraising appeals, and Thursday saw a lengthy essay from his re-election campaign full of pugnacious rhetoric.

“While in Tampa, I told a group of students masks were ridiculous, and they didn’t have to wear them if they didn’t want to. Predictably, the leftist propagandists in our media had a meltdown and called me a ‘bully’ for allowing children to breathe fresh air,” the Governor groused.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Tom

    March 3, 2022 at 9:49 pm

    Non Issue, typical liberal hate.
    Just a joke.
    Did your watch the state of the union?
    Maskless. Give me a break!

    • Vince Inman

      March 4, 2022 at 5:51 pm

      Typical conservative ignorance.

      • Tom

        March 5, 2022 at 1:22 am

        You Vince are the ignoramus, along with the fake outrage.
        Get over it pal, what a joke,
        Did you see the state of union?
        How bout in Ukraine you dumb ass.
        Are they wearing masks in their final battle. Save it. Fake outrage not buying it.

        • Michael A

          March 5, 2022 at 4:01 am

          They could have family that are very susceptible to covid and have pre-existing conditions where even the shots don’t help.

          There are breakthrough infections with people who even have four shots including those who are over 65.

          You still carry the same viral load even if you have no symptoms and have all your shots you can still spread it to others.

          Wearing a mask so you don’t bring it home to your family members who might be susceptible to it is good.

          You would think to Santa’s would know this considering his wife and her Cancer treatments weaken her immune system, and covid could kill her, but he probably doesn’t care since he’s already cheated on her anyway.

          • Tom

            March 6, 2022 at 12:53 pm

            The A hole, Michael.

            Hey Michael, I specifically replied to you below. At March 6, 12:34 below tjb. you disgusting pig. Btw, you have no proof. Just typical Dem smear.

    • Jake

      March 4, 2022 at 5:57 pm

      Nothing to do with liberal hate. Republican stupidity at its finest here. He wanted to make a scene and did so. These were not little kids so they’ve all heard this blowhard knock masks. Some people decide to wear masks to be as safe as they can be so what’s the problem? Why does it bother you to have someone feel comfortable in a particular situation? If we’re so free let me wear a mask if I want to. Thanks.

      • Antonio

        March 4, 2022 at 11:02 pm

        He literally said “wear them if you want to”. Not all students wanted to wear them. It’s called choice. You want to wear one forever, go right ahead. That’s is your business.

  • RonDeSantisSucks

    March 3, 2022 at 10:27 pm

    All he had to say was “you don’t have to wear the masks around me, but if you want to, that’s OK too”. But instead, he wanted to bully kids. ridiculous.

  • tom palmer

    March 3, 2022 at 11:34 pm

    I have lived in Florida for nearly 75 years. I can’t recall a governor who was such a jerk.

    • Greg

      March 4, 2022 at 5:31 pm

      Rick scott

      • Scott

        March 4, 2022 at 9:05 pm

        Well played,sir, well played

  • KB

    March 4, 2022 at 3:15 am

    Ron Desantis forgot to mention that his own children attend an expense private school that requires vaccines and masks.

    • melissa

      March 4, 2022 at 7:42 am

      His oldest kid is 5, the other are not school age. What are you talking about?

  • Tom

    March 4, 2022 at 6:08 am

    The bully’s have been the tyrannical blue state govts. Laughing my ass off with liberal melt down over Gov who correctly stopped kids from wearing them. You hypocrite bastards say nothing when the POTUS and Congress didn’t wear them at state of union.

    Ron and kB, F U. Both. He did say that. He has a right to send kids where ever. You mean like the Dems who do so.

    Good for Gov Kahones. Enough of the Covid lies and deceit. DeSantis the best.

  • Lynda

    March 4, 2022 at 8:42 am

    Anyone watching the “press conference” where the governor of The “Free State of Florida” had a “ranting” moment could tell from deSantis’ body language he was actually angry to see students exercising their choice to wear masks. deSantis bullied the students to take off their masks. He certainly did not respect the “rights” of their parents who most likely supported using masks around people like the Governor who cares little for the health of people he meets. I doubt the medical staff caring for his spouse with cancer allowed either her or him to walk around maskless in a cancer treatment center.

    Those students were just props being used as a multi-ethinic backdrop by deSantis. A sane Governor would have asked the students for the reasons they were wearing masks. deSantis could have calmly explained his No Mask policy. Instead he proved once more he does not have the judgement to be a Governor.

    • Parental choice? Ha.

      March 4, 2022 at 9:37 am

      This ^^^^*.

      Also, some wore surgical masks which are more effective – not all cloth masks as the article incorrectly states, and his tone was 1000% bullying. If any adult spoke to my child like that I’d have a word. And if I was undergoing cancer treatments and my husband was running around everywhere maskless during a time like this I would divorce him. What a farce.

  • RP

    March 4, 2022 at 10:00 am

    TLDNR: DeSantis is a Nazi fascist.

  • Tjb

    March 4, 2022 at 10:45 am

    Covid theater?
    Hey Ron, how about the 70,000 plus Floridians that have died from Covid. Were they acting? Your poor leadership and pitiful actions regarding Covid have cause more deaths then necessary. You state that you are pro-life for the unborn, but what about the lives of those outside the womb. Should your administration be call the “theater of death”?

    • Greg

      March 4, 2022 at 5:35 pm

      The government didn’t cause death…the virus did. Those people would have died whether there was a mask mandate or not. Also, they were free to wear a mask without the government telling them to. The only thing you’re arguing for is for more government overreach into our personal lives. You have no evidence showing that 70,000 less people would have died if desantis issued a mask mandate. Any figure you could come up with us hypothetical.

      • Tjb

        March 5, 2022 at 10:57 am

        Did not say all 70,000 deaths are DeSantis’s fault. If he supported covid prevention and safeguards I sure more people would have survived. He mocked Dr.Fauci, the vaccination and simple safeguards that helps to prevent the spread. He is playing “theater” to a part of his base that is anti vaccination. He has made it political and not a health issue. Again, DeSantis and his quack doctor, Ladapo, are actor in the “theater of death”.

        • Tom

          March 6, 2022 at 12:34 pm

          What’s the A for Michael, A hole,
          I guess. Go F yourself you scumcrat.
          Just busts all you pathetic Manchurian balls that America’s Gov is perfect! Whiz kid, Yale & Harvard, youth college baseball player, military service, asst u s attorney, member of congress, and now America’s Gov. and potus to be. You jealous, petty Manchurian s. You got nothing, Biden at 34# approval in Florida. Camillion crispy crist, Nikki Fraud, and the tarantula pulling, and giggles harris.
          Clown show. You Manchurians are pathetic

        • Tom

          March 6, 2022 at 12:47 pm

          You have suggested previously it was his fault on Florida Covid death, parroting the Manchurian Covid line similar to Trump.

          So, Biden and Fauci are accountable to over 1 million deaths. Just saying tjb. Biden had more Covid compared to Trump. You own it.

  • C.S.

    March 4, 2022 at 11:11 am

    DeSantis stated the following, “I mean, you don’t have to wear those masks. Please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So if you want to wear it, fine. But this is, this ridiculous.”

    Mr. DeSantis:
    #1. YOU don’t tell MY child WHAT HE can do. You have have no idea what he has going on at home. Whether you believe that your comments had no bearing on my kid’s psyche, let me tell you – when the Governor of the State of Florida tells an impressionable kid that they don’t HAVE to wear a mask because it’s NOT DOING ANYTHING, and the COVID theater has to stop. But if you WANT to wear it fine. BUT THIS IS, THIS IS RIDICULOUS in an authoritative tone and what I saw on television to be an angry postured manner, of course most kids are going to feel pulled in different directions. It’s NOT YOUR PLACE to tell those kids what to do. They did not harm you. They did NOTHING to you except what they were told to do, and have been doing for days, weeks, months prior to your presence being there. If you even remotely believe you liberated them, you are wrong.
    #2 As stated at the beginning of item 1, you don’t know what’s going on at home. Did you ever stop and to think that there may be two immuno-suppressed people at home? One undergoing chemotherapy and radiation and the other a child with a congenital heart defect that is sensitive to certain types of viruses and bacterias? It was quite obvious you did not. With your own wife undergoing cancer treatments, do you walk in and greet her just as you are? It is my understanding your own children attend private school-quite frankly it doesn’t matter if its public, private or chartered-kids are kids and schools are excellent breeding grounds for various types of viruses and bacterias that cause infection.
    #3 Why is it that a surgical team wears masks and sterile gloves in the surgical suite? Did you know that the surgical team wash their arms and hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before they put on surgical gloves? The mask is the last thing put on, and it’s put on with sterile gloved hands too.
    #4 Have you attended any chemotherapy sessions with your wife? Or when she needs to have lab work done from her port? Maybe you haven’t because you won’t wear a mask because they “don’t do anything “. In case you’re not being upfront with your constituents, the nurse taking the blood sample and usually the patient wears a mask during the service. The nurse even changes her gloves TWICE. Once to prepare the items, to alcohol swab the area thoroughly, and then while the area dries, s/he takes those gloves off and puts in the next pair where s/he inserts the needle and tubing to take blood and/or prepare for chemo. This whole thing is performed with masks on to prevent bacteria from coming out of the nose and mouth and find itself either being on the skin where it can survive for a while (depending upon the type) or get on the supplies and inadvertently get into the bloodstream.
    #4 Get this interesting unofficial statistic, during the 18 months of no contact and mask wearing, my entire family didn’t get sick-not even a sniffle. Remove the mask and allergies, colds, sinusitis, flus, actual COVID diagnoses took place.

    So far, your statement of “…Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater,” has struck out in my family. Before you start telling people what to do, especially young people, young impressionable people under the age of 18-have a mind Sir on how you speak and what you say.

  • Drummer

    March 4, 2022 at 11:21 am

    This appears like a typicallystaged campaign event. Desantis told a staffer that he wanted a few high school kids in the background with masks. This provided Desantis with his Fox Noise moment to sound tough around some 15-year olds. This got him some air time on Fox.

  • Frankie M.

    March 4, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    Wow such integrity. Ronnie scolded those kids not because he had to but because it was the right thing to do. I wonder if Ronnie listens to himself or believes the lies he tells himself. Not that it really matters now that we’re in a post truth society.

  • Frankie M.

    March 4, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    So much for personal choice.

  • Beth

    March 4, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    For their own good? Does Ronnie actually think he has the right to influence other people’s children? He uses “parent rights” as an excuse for his sick policies but what happened to those rights when he was accosting those students? No class, no brains, just a twisted little man desperate for power and money. Vote him out.

    • Tom

      March 5, 2022 at 8:28 am

      Beth, you are a pathetic being.
      DeSantis is America’s Governor.
      So many Manchurians, u are losers!
      Frankie M, TJB, Palmer, others
      DeSantis wins bigly! Read it and weep.

  • Rod

    March 5, 2022 at 8:27 am

    So your policy is to give parents choice over medical issues involving their children. No co-parenting of government and parents. Pretty sure that includes you! Really set back your own policies with this garbage.

  • Maxine Sue

    March 5, 2022 at 9:15 am

    My favorite takeaway from the Governor’s hissy fit at the spoiling of the photo op for his base is that his skin appears to be pretty thin. Florida Freedom means we’re free to do what HE wants.

  • Mary Alice

    March 7, 2022 at 12:06 pm

    You have no right to tell other people’s children what to do. Period, full stop. All the politicsplaining is not going to change the fact that what you did is way out of line. Your tone was inappropriate and so were your words. You seem to think you are some kind of dictator of Florida. Time for you to be voted out.

  • Ocean Joe

    March 7, 2022 at 3:46 pm

    Tucker Carlson gets an “explanation” but the people of Florida do not.
    Self proclaimed legend Tom, wherever you are, your hero needs to grow up before he can be president.
    How bout that big, loud hiss at the end of the hissy fit. Priceless.
    This guy pushes his own buttons and explodes at unsuspecting teens and instead of apologizing, he doubles down on bad behavior like his mentor, the ever corpulent, Putin-loving failed casino operator.

    • Tom

      March 7, 2022 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks ocean, I commented on another article or this one, LOL as a legend I can’t keep up. I concur on getting over it, the train has left the station. Americans are done on Covid, masks and fear.

      I concur on the reaction. Little less drama needed and more political maturity. He is still very young in political terms, 43. He is growing.

      America’s Gov is the political and intellectual leader of the Repub. and conservative movement. He is now the co favorite for POTUS. The alternative line starts well below him, excluding #45.

      America’s Gov is right, those youngen’s will remember being challenged by Gov . A man of steel and Kahones, the corp media, Fauci and the 5% Dems, who don’t get to wrongly dictate.

      DeSabtis in the mank!

  • Tom

    March 8, 2022 at 8:57 am

    Where u been hiding ocean? It’s been a long time. Much has happened in the world.

    I’ve defeated all the Manchurians. Alex hides. We have a new hater, moniker Frankie M. Sounds like Alex. Peter h has been stepped on big time. Biden’s going to Saudi Arabia for oil production, that sounds like a disaster. They’ve met with Iran & Venezuela, what a train wreck.

    How do you like us seconds from nuclear war thanks to Joe B. Foreign Debacles like Afghan & Ukraine. Can you say Khasoggi ? In Saudi Arabia.

  • Tom

    March 8, 2022 at 9:03 am

    Ocean, FYI.

    News flash, Biden halting Russian imports.
    Don’t tell Peter h, he says POTUS had nothing to do with oil production or imports. He denies we purchase oil for caverns storage. Ignorance is bliss!

Comments are closed.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704