TALLAHASSEE, FL – Republican Governor Ron DeSantis criticized concerns regarding crowds of maskless fans seen celebrating across Tampa Bay and his own appearance at the game without a mask, saying the establishment media only complains when “it’s people you don’t like.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis came to the defense of Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans who gathered in Tampa following their Super Bowl win on Sunday after a reporter brought up the photos that went viral this week of crowds celebrating in the streets. pic.twitter.com/XQsTj7Jem0
— Eric Demamp (@ericdemamp) February 11, 2021
During a news conference in Venice, Florida, on Wednesday, Gov. DeSantis was asked if he was concerned about the Super Bowl becoming a COVID-19 superspreader event in light of a new, more contagious UK variant of the virus and the lack of masks being worn. Gov. DeSantis responded that the media complaints were selective:
“The media is worried about that. Obviously, you guys really love that. You don’t care as much if it’s a quote ‘peaceful protest,’ then it’s fine. You don’t care as much if they’re celebrating a Biden election. You only care about it if it’s people you don’t like.
“I’m a Bucs fan. I’m damn proud of what they did on Sunday night.”
Huzzah!! "But how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?" https://t.co/cLHt2EzuB4
— OutKick (@Outkick) February 9, 2021
The Governor also expressed confidence that the latest vaccines will help protect residents of his state:
“In terms of the UK variant, here’s what we know, we know, based on all the evidence, that these vaccines are going to be effective against that. And that’s really the main concern, I mean we’re getting our seniors vaccinated.
“We’ve not seen any data, or any evidence to suggest that these vaccines are not effective and so if we get the seniors vaccinated.”
Caught DeSantis before he left an event and he brought up this picture on his own by saying, "Someone said, 'hey, you were at the Super Bowl without a mask' … but how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on? Come on. I had to watch the Bucs win." https://t.co/OEDAeW2eGM
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) February 8, 2021
Gov. DeSantis also answered media questions Monday about his appearance in a photograph at the Super Bowl without a mask.
The photograph made its way through social media, showing the Governor enjoying himself in a box at the Super Bowl without a mask on. Reacting to the photograph, DeSantis responded:
“Someone said, ‘hey, you were at the Super Bowl without a mask’ … but how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on?’ Come on. I had to watch the Bucs win.”
Despite the masking uproar, Gov. DeSantis has been praised for his handling of the pandemic in his state. The Governor has kept much of his state open during the virus outbreak, and the numbers reflect the success of Florida in fighting COVID-19.
This is Ron DeSantis’ angry response to questions about huge maskless celebrations in Tampa after Super Bowl in middle of deadly pandemic pic.twitter.com/5OlvGI6nWs
— Daniel Uhlfelder (@DWUhlfelderLaw) February 10, 2021
Gov. DeSantis commented on the success while speaking with Fox News:
“(Florida has) less COVID mortality per capita than the national average, 25 states or higher, so the lockdowns don’t work on their own, but they cause catastrophic damage to society.
“As other states have tried to lock people down, we’ve tried to lift people up”
Gov. DeSantis has resisted restrictions for the pandemic that have been enacted in other states. He has fought to keep educational centers open, and to keep businesses open when many states were shutting them down. He also refused to enact a requirement for people to wear masks outside of the home.
"If they wanna shut down businesses, I'm gonna stand in the way. I'm gonna stand with these folks here because they have a right to make a living."
My Governor DeSantis kicking ass AGAIN 😁🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/cHMDw30MQu
— Coyote Outlaw (@ThatF_ckerYote) December 21, 2020
Many critics have compared DeSantis to former President Donald Trump, who was often characterized as having a cavalier, uncaring approach to the pandemic. Despite the attacks, DeSantis has defended his position, saying his residents have a right to live their lives.
The Governor has championed the right of people to earn a living as one reason he opposed state shutdowns:
“They talk about whether businesses should be open. Every business in Florida has a right to operate. They talk about all these people unemployed. In Florida, every single person has a right to earn a living and our unemployment rate is lower than the national average, even though we are so tourism-dependent [and] that market hasn’t recovered at all.”
While the national unemployment rate edged down to 6.3% in January from 6.7% in December, Florida’s unemployment rate stood at 6.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This has been florida the whole time… They have high cases but the death rate is still low. It's actually no worse than NY or California even with their lockdowns, because lockdowns don't actually work. At least they have the sun for everyone to get ample vitamin D
— Kelsey | Divine (@Botanic_Planets) February 8, 2021
Florida was also able to keep schools open when other states struggled with virtual and hybrid learning. The Governor touted his state’s ability to continue traditional education:
“You look around the country, they still are debating whether schools should be open. We’ve had schools open the whole year.”
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According to pandemic tracker Worldometers, Florida had 1,798,280 total recorded cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, with total deaths at 28,208. In comparison, heavy lockdown, blue state New York has only had 1,541,314 cases, but more deaths at 45, 466.
When Gov. DeSantis complained the media was being selective in its complaints about people not wearing masks, he was referring to several incidents where Democrats have appeared in public without masks, and the media failed to call them out.
After Joe Biden won the presidential election on November 4, Democrats took to the streets in crowded celebrations. Then-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was photographed lowering his mask during street celebrations with Biden supporters.
Sen. Chuck Schumer is celebrating at Grand Army Plaza with hundreds of people. “Our long fight is over,” he tells the growing crowd pic.twitter.com/tmS6x3vw0g
— Josefa Velásquez (@J__Velasquez) November 7, 2020
Sen. Schumer, who has been a vocal critic of those not wearing masks, also stood in front of a crowd with his mask pulled down, singing, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”
— The Hill (@thehill) November 7, 2020
Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who once attacked her own police for not wearing masks, appeared in public with her mask down in a crowd following the November election.
In October, Lightfoot reacted to a report that some Chicago police officers were not wearing masks:
“We all have to use the tools that are available to us now and take advantage of the opportunity for ourselves, our family, friends, people in our network but also our neighbors across this city.
“Let me also just say that we as a city [need to] better ourselves in mask-wearing. This includes our public-facing departments and agencies like Police and Fire, as well as Streets and Sanitation.”
Yet, during election celebrations with crowds of Biden supporters, she pulled down her mask to talk.
— Lori Lightfoot (@LoriLightfoot) November 8, 2020
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