Ron DeSantis: Pressure Rises on Governor As Florida Coronavirus Cases Increase

DeSantis’ management of the coronavirus was once announced, despite the fact that it closed the state later than most and opened it before others, causing contempt for state and national leaders. But after Florida apparently averted the worst of the virus, new cases in the state have skyrocketed, and the Florida Department of Health reported nearly 9,000 new cases on Friday, a figure that dwarfed a previous day’s record of the coronavirus. status and showed the number of new cases more than tripled in just two weeks.

The twist, from the coronavirus success story to the growing state of trouble, is the latest chapter in DeSantis’ continued struggle with the health crisis and puts the governor in a difficult position: his early challenge in the fight against the coronavirus, In addition to his deference to President Donald Trump, who has denied the worsening situation around the outbreak, it makes it difficult for the governor to change course.

“Which have been the results?” DeSantis, sitting next to Trump, said in late April. “Everyone in the media said that Florida would be like New York or Italy, and that did not happen … We had a personalized and measured approach that not only helped our numbers fall well below what anyone predicted, but they also caused less harm to our state in the future. “

The response garnered praise from Trump, who said DeSantis was a “great governor” who “knows exactly what he is doing” to combat the coronavirus.

But that initial political position, in the eyes of Republicans in Florida, has now cornered the governor.

“The problem with how he reacted was that he was declaring victory before the game ended,” said a senior Republican official in the state who requested anonymity to speak frankly about the governor’s position. “Now he is cornered in a corner.”

Democrats have also used the surge in cases in Florida to criticize both DeSantis and his ties to Trump.

“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a disciple of this president,” said Dave Aronberg, the Palm Beach County state attorney. “The governor is going to follow the example of the White House … … lives are at risk and you have all these political games.”

And fears are most intense in South Florida, where Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said “all options are on the table” when asked if the city will impose another order to stay home.

“When we see hospitalization increase, our ICU beds go up, our ventilators are going up … it’s concerning and there are some hospitals in Dade County that are approaching capacity,” Suarez, a Republican, told CNN. .

DeSantis, in response to the increase, has been adamant in rejecting calls to rethink the reopening of the state, and told reporters on Wednesday that people “have responded very positively to the steps so far, so we want to continue on that journey. “

“If you follow the guidelines, everything will be fine,” DeSantis said Wednesday.

But on Thursday, it seemed clear that DeSantis knew his condition was going in the wrong direction.

“We are where we are,” said the governor. “I did not say that we will move to the next phase.”

DeSantis has attributed the outbreak in cases to young people, noting that the average age of people who have recently tested positive is between 30 and 30, and the fact that state tests are increasing. In response, DeSantis has threatened to use the state government to crack down on bars and nightclubs where social distancing is not observed, even threatening to take away liquor licenses.

And the governor also said the rise in “farming communities” that are made up of “overwhelming” day laborers, a comment that won his swift condemnation by host lawmakers and outside political groups.

But across the Gulf of Mexico, another Republican governor, Greg Abbott of Texas, has taken a different course, issuing an executive order limiting certain businesses and services in response to a surge this week.

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go back and close business,” Abbott said Thursday. “This temporary pause will help our state corner the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business.”

However, somehow, there is more at stake for DeSantis, who is much closer to Trump than the Republican from Texas and comes from a state where tourism is a much bigger part of the economy.

In addition, DeSantis, after a major lobbying, convinced Trump to accept the Republican presidential nomination in Jacksonville, after the president fought with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, for being unwilling to guarantee that the party be entitled to a full right. convention in Charlotte. Cases in Duval County, which includes Jacksonville, have increased in recent days.

The central question for DeSantis as Florida’s number increases is whether to implement a statewide mask requirement. So far, the governor has resisted those calls, including one pushed by the top Democrats in the state, but has also slightly adapted his personal style, putting on a mask for public appearances, as he urges citizens of his state to do the same when They are out.

It’s a notable change for the governor, who had not been so adamant about wearing a mask and refused to wear it when he joined Vice President Mike Pence in May.

So far, none of Florida’s Republican senators are prepared to break with DeSantis and ask for a statewide mandatory mask requirement.

“I think people should be able to make those decisions for themselves,” Florida Senator Rick Scott said in response to CNN’s Manu Raju’s question Thursday.

And while Marco Rubio has defiantly told people to wear a mask (“everyone should wear a damn mask,” he said Wednesday), the Florida senator did not say he wants the state to have a mandatory order.

DeSantis is now living with the initial steps he took to combat the coronavirus, especially his decision to require all travelers from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to be quarantined for two weeks upon arrival in Florida.
With the tri-state area now recovering from the worst, the Democratic governors of all three states are directing their anger at Florida and their worsening of the fight by demanding people traveling from the state to quarantine.

“I tell everyone, look at the numbers,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo told CNN when asked what he would say to DeSantis. “You played politics with this virus and lost.”