Post #238, Bob McKnight's Florida Commentary
Did DeSantis really fine disabled children participating in the Special Olympics for trying to protect themselves from Covid-19?
By most accounts, other than former President Donald Trump, the favored nominee for President within the GOP in 2024, will be Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Since I am a Floridian, I feel compelled to comment on the Governor's prospects. I think the starting point might be a look back at some of the highlights of his public service. Ask yourself the question, are we proud of this record for a future President of the United States?
Inexperienced: He won his first election to Congress from Northeast Florida in 2012, and became a "backbencher," with little influence. He barely won the race for Governor in 2018, largely on the endorsement of President Trump, whom he fawned over since then.
Attack on Federal Medical Protection: His political career was really launched with his vitriolic attack on the Federal government's medical guidance to protect Floridians from Covid-19. DeSantis is not a doctor. Under DeSantis, Florida became the most infected Covid state in the country. More Floridians have died from Covid than any other state. Seizing on Trump's nationalism theme, DeSantis manipulated and lied about Covid data in the state, he altered University of Florida due diligence on his Surgeon General appointment, and other medical personnel selections. He bragged about the freedom we had, but which left us vulnerable to the deadly disease.
Attack on Public Education: DeSantis used Executive Orders to cut School Board pay for ordering masks on students in schools, strongly recommended by the Federal Medical Authorities. Florida suffered more Covid cases and deaths in schools than any other state He mandated curriculum, badgered administrators over the teaching of civil and gay rights, and used public funds for unregulated private and for profit schools,
Attack on Freedom of Speech: DeSantis attacked one of Florida's leading businesses and a major employer, Disney World, which lost the protection of a 50 year old law, because of freedom of expression
Attack on Disabled Children: DeSantis order disabled children participants in the National Special Olympics competing in Orlando be fined for wearing masks to not spread Covid among the large crowd, as recommended by Federal Medical Authorities.
Secret Federal Funding: DeSantis opposed the Biden Federal Infrastructure Funding, but then claimed credit for obtaining it when he distributed the funds in Florida.
Attack on Women's Freedom of Choice: DeSantis fired a twice elected Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren over something the local official said about enforcing anti-abortion legislation. No anti-abortion legislation is Florida law, but DeSantis saw this as an opportunity to exceed his authority to feather his reputation with the conservative base in his re-election bid for the GOP nomination for Governor. With the clear majority of Floridians, and especially women, favoring individual privacy about their bodies, Governor DeSantis wants the government to make life and death decisions for them. He is silent on freedom in this case.
Voting Restrictions: Along with the national GOP, DeSantis pushed massive restrictions for minority voting under Donald Trump's false accusation of voter fraud. In one case DeSantis directed his new personal military militia to charge voters with illegal fraud, after they had received prior voting approval.
Bully of Immigrants: Copying the disgraceful bigotry of other GOP Governors, DeSantis used almost $700,000 of Florida tax payer funds to fly 60 mostly Venezuelan immigrants to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. This was in response to effectively a dare from a discredited news commentator from FOX News. The immigrants, who DeSantis called "aliens," said they were misled on what was going to happen to them. This mean spirited stunt was lambasted by the public all over the world.
DeSantis has become known as Governor Bully and is a favorite to become the GOP nominee in 2024. What has happened to the grand old party?