In an interview with “Fox & Friends” on Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that some Democratic state leaders were taking advantage of the coronavirus to practice “social control” policies that had little or nothing to do with keeping people safe. The Sunshine State Republican has come under fire for nearly three months for what some perceived as a lax approach to the virus. As it turned out, however, DeSantis’s efforts proved a lot more successful than those of many of his critics. And now he has plenty to say about how other states are handling to crisis.
“In Wisconsin, the governor there decided to do stay-at-home orders, and a lot of people were complaining and protesting there,” said co-host Ainsley Earhardt. “The Supreme Court of Wisconsin just struck that down. Do you think some of these governors that are just doing a one-size-fits-all for the entire state, you think they’re being too strict and going too far?”
“Well, I don’t think any governor has the authority to restrict anyone unless there’s a direct relationship to combating this virus,” replied DeSantis. “And if you look around the country, clearly there have been examples of really draconian, arbitrary restrictions that have nothing to do with public health – like you can’t plant a seed in your front yard and your garden, you can’t walk around the neighborhood with your daughter or something like that. So, some of this stuff, I think, has devolved into social control.”
The governor went on to say that extremely strict lockdowns are “less effective” than Florida’s approach, which was to “trust the people to act appropriately” while maintaining a light touch when it came to stay-at-home orders.
“We’ve had better results than some of the states that you’ve seen,” DeSantis said. “There have absolutely been over-steps, and I think legislatures should really look at this as we go forward. You need to be able to act; there’s certain things that need to be done, but you’re not a dictator, you don’t have unlimited authority, and people do have rights.”
A whole lot of so-called experts were predicting that Florida would turn into a disaster zone due to DeSantis’s lack of leadership, but the only disaster was how much egg those pundits got all over their faces. DeSantis did a fine job with the first wave of this pandemic, and that’s why his slow-but-sure reopening of the state deserves the benefit of the doubt. Maybe the endless lockdown folks should stop crying and start paying attention to the real numbers. They may find a surprise.