The governor has additionally taken steps to shore up his political standing round his dealing with of the pandemic, summoning reporters to the State Capitol on Wednesday to blast — full with a slide-show presentation titled “FACTS VS. SMEARS” — a report in CBS Information’s “60 Minutes” that didn’t have adequate proof to show a pay-to-play dynamic between Mr. DeSantis’s administration and Covid-19 vaccine distribution for white and rich Floridians.
His file on the virus is, in truth, combined. By some measures, Florida has had a mean efficiency in a pandemic that’s not but over. But his choices helped maintain hospitals from changing into overwhelmed with coronavirus sufferers. He highlights that he helped companies survive and allowed kids to go to high school.
What his critics can not overlook, nonetheless, is how he resisted some key public well being pointers. An op-ed article endorsing masks that his workers drafted below his title in mid-July was by no means authorised by the governor for publication. The restrictions he now dismisses as ineffective, equivalent to native masks mandates and curfews, which consultants say in truth labored, had been imposed usually by Democratic mayors with whom he hardly speaks.
Given the methods folks admire or despise him, nonetheless, the nuances appear inappropriate.
He infuriates passionate critics who consider he operates shrewdly to are likely to his personal pursuits. They worry that method contributed to complicated public well being messages, vaccine favoritism for the rich and the deaths of about 34,000 Floridians. “DeathSantis,” they name him. (Mr. DeSantis declined repeated interview requests for this text.)
However at nearly each flip, Mr. DeSantis has seized the criticism as a possibility to turn into an avatar for nationwide conservatives who relish the governor’s combativeness. He can rating factors that his potential Republican rivals within the minority in Washington, together with Mr. Rubio and Senator Rick Scott, his predecessor as governor, can not.
“He’s taken the flawed method on a few of our most crucial points, Covid being at the beginning, but inside Republican political circles, he’s thought-about to be the front-runner for the White Home,” mentioned former Consultant David Jolly, an ex-Republican who’s flirting with a doable run for governor. “He’s labored his hand completely.”