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DeSantis says he regrets not standing up to Trump administration’s calls for lockdown as tensions rise with ex-president

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) said in a podcast episode aired Friday that one of his biggest regrets in office was not speaking “much louder” against the Trump administration’s calls for a lockdown in start of the pandemic, with the comments coming just days after former President Donald Trump appeared to call DeSantis “courageless.”

Next, President Donald Trump watches as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) speaks in Sunrise, Fla., on… [+] November 26, 2019. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Highlights

DeSantis said on the conservative ‘Ruthless’ podcast that he believes Trump administration officials like Dr. Anthony Fauci “freaked out” as Covid-19 spread rapidly across the United States in March 2020, prompting calls to locks.

Tensions would rise between Trump and DeSantis, who was one of Trump’s most vocal and powerful supporters during his presidency, as DeSantis does not rule out a 2024 presidential election if Trump is also in the race.

Trump said in an interview that aired Tuesday that politicians who do not disclose whether they have received a Covid vaccine booster are “fearless”, appearing to take a swipe at DeSantis, who declined to say whether he received a booster.

Vs

While DeSantis was opposed to lockdowns at the start of the pandemic, that view was not reflected in his actions. In March 2020, DeSantis ordered schools closed, closed bars, and banned indoor dining in restaurants, as have many other governors. But some of Florida’s restrictions went well beyond those of many other states and federally issued guidelines, such as requiring travelers from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Louisiana to self-isolate for two weeks after entering the state. DeSantis even ordered police checkpoints set up on highways to monitor travelers entering Florida. Restrictions for travelers from the New York area were not lifted until August 2020.

Key Context

DeSantis’ initially tough lockdown measures, for the most part, didn’t last long. In late September 2020, Florida lifted capacity restrictions for restaurants and bars far earlier than any other major state, allowing businesses to operate at 100% capacity. DeSantis has repeatedly touted his state’s lax restrictions and the fact that he never implemented a statewide mask mandate, leading to a surge in name recognition and of popularity among Republican voters as the Trump-supporting party base increasingly opposed Covid restrictions. The media and political pundits have consistently touted DeSantis as a potential GOP nominee in the 2024 presidential race, and early polls show DeSantis a strong contender for the nomination if Trump doesn’t run. But a December Reuters/Ipsos poll showed DeSantis occupying a “second mile” if Trump enters the race. The poll found Trump with 54% support among potential GOP primary voters, while DeSantis polled just 11%.

To monitor

DeSantis is running for re-election this year. Polls show him ahead of either Democrat he is likely to face in the general election.

Further reading

POLITICO Playbook: Trump sours on DeSantis (Politico)

Trump criticizes DeSantis? He criticizes courageous politicians who won’t share Covid recall status (Forbes)

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis refuses to say if the hell is getting a Covid vaccine booster (Forbes)

Covid cases rise in Florida as bars and restaurants reopen to full capacity (Forbes)

Full coverage and live updates on the coronavirus

Sources

1/ https://Google.com/

2/ https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicholasreimann/2022/01/14/desantis-says-he-regrets-not-opposing-trump-administrations-lockdown-calls-as-tensions-grow-with-ex-president/

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