A Wednesday MSNBC panel praised Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ handling of COVID-19 and his state’s economy.
The panel said DeSantis enjoys risk and is “grabbing the Trump mantle” in preparation to become a potential 2024 presidential candidate. Anchor Symone Sanders then praised the Florida governor’s handling of COVID-19 in his state.
“I was critical of Governor DeSantis, still am, during the height of COVID, but if you really look at the numbers, Florida actually came out alright. He has a story to tell,” she said.
“And the economy is strong,” political analyst Philip Rucker added.
Sanders then criticized the governor in connection to the Florida Department of Education banning 41% of math textbooks proposed by publishers because they contained “indoctrinating concepts” banned by the state, including Critical Race Theory and Social Emotional Learning.
“I think the facts are, though, what he’s doing with the math books makes no sense. Even Fox News analysts were like he has to come up with an explanation for this,” she said. “So it’s not all rosy, so I think I would just caution on keeping a little too much praise on Ron DeSantis.”
“And I don’t know if it’s praise because I think he’s taken on risk,” host Chuck Todd said. (RELATED: DeSantis: ‘Politicians Want You To Cover Your Face As A Way For Them To Cover Their Own Asses’)
DeSantis immediately took an anti-lockdown and mandate approach in the midst of the pandemic by signing an executive order in July 2021 prohibiting schools and local governments from mandating masks in public schools, instead leaving masking as a choice by the parents.
“The force masking, it has harmed students … Shouldn’t this be something that the parent is at best to evaluate, the effect that this will have on their children?” DeSantis said at the event. “Why would we have government force masks on our kids when many of these kids are already immune through prior infection, they’re virtually at zero risk of significant illness, and when virtually every school personnel, they’ve had access to vaccines for months.”
A Florida judge ruled against the executive order in September arguing he had “overreached” and cannot prevent districts from implementing COVID protocols.
The governor told a group of University of Southern Florida students that they can take off their masks and stop the “COVID theater.”
A study by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity found that Florida held a high ranking regarding its handling of COVID mortality rates and the economy, while blue states tended to perform “poorly on every measure.”