On Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki made misleading statements regarding DeSantis’ management of the outbreak in Florida.
In response, the office of Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis slammed the Biden administration for spreading false information.
DeSantis, an outspoken opponent of coronavirus restrictions like state-level mask mandates has been repeatedly floated as a potential 2024 challenger to President Biden.
Psaki said, “Twenty percent of the cases we’re seeing are in Florida. There are steps and precautions that can be taken, including encouraging people to get vaccinated, encouraging people to wear masks, including allowing schools to mandate masks and allowing kids to wear masks, which is not the current state of play in Florida.”
She continued, “So, you know, at a certain point, leaders are going to have to choose whether they’re going to follow public health guidelines or they’re going to follow politics and we certainly encourage all governors to follow the public health guidelines.”
However, these claims may be partially untrue. The governor has hosted over 50 vaccine encouraging events, suggesting that Floridians get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a recent Fox News article. The governor’s office also rebutted the statement about masks in school, claiming that there is no prohibition of masks and the parents decide what is best for their child.
DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw told The Daily Wire in an email, “By dismissively ignoring Governor DeSantis’ efforts to protect vulnerable Floridians, Psaki is the one playing politics with the pandemic.”
“The White House should be more concerned about the flip-flopping of the CDC, which is inadvertently promoting vaccine hesitancy with their confusing, contradictory public communications. Stating that vaccinated people should wear masks and socially distance is implying that the vaccines do not change anything, which is the wrong message for our federal government to be promoting.” She continued.
Pushaw also added, “The empirical evidence supports his position on this.”
The following examples are highlighted by DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw:
- In Texas, the state mask mandate was lifted March 2, 2021. COVID-19 cases declined significantly in the weeks and months after the mask mandate was lifted, and only recently did TX cases start to rise again. This has nothing to do with mask mandates and appears more likely to be a seasonal surge.
- In California, a state mask mandate was imposed June 19, 2020. After several months of mandatory masking, in December 2020, COVID-19 cases in California began to surge, reaching a single-day record on January 5, 2021 (74,000 cases reported).
- Florida never had a statewide mandate, but some counties were enforcing mask mandates last year. Counties in Florida that imposed mask mandates last year did not demonstrate significantly better COVID-19 outcomes, in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, than counties that had no mask mandates.
Pushaw further noted that DeSantis and his Department of Health have repeatedly encouraged Floridians to get vaccinated to protect themselves and their communities from the coronavirus.
Pushaw highlighted some of the following numbers about DeSantis’s efforts to get Floridians vaccinated:
- The governor had over 50 vaccine-specific events, appearing in 27 counties around the state.
- He had over 100 tweets to highlight those efforts.
- The efficacy and value of vaccines have been mentioned specifically at least 1,600+ times in over 100 different public appearances.
By lying about the scope of @GovRonDeSantis’ executive order on student mask mandates (students are NOT banned from wearing masks), the White House is engaging in the very politics it’s pretending to be above. pic.twitter.com/FyqVEGTvro
— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) August 2, 2021