April 4, 2020

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi and guests brutally analyzed DeSantis’ response (and lack thereof) to the pandemic in a state that is now a hotspot of contagion.

Velshi pointed out that while DeSantis has finally issued a statewide stay-at-home order, his “botched response” has resulted in more than 10,000 cases and 169 deaths in Florida. “Those numbers are expected to continue climbing,” Velshi continued. He also noted there is now an “immense strain” on the state’s healthcare systems, too.

Former Florida Republican Congressman David Jolly said, “It's hard to judge Ron DeSantis' role in this as anything but a colossal failure.”

Jolly explained how Trumpism is at the root of DeSantis’ failures:

JOLLY: First, he kind of put it all on local and municipal governments. He tried to push it off onto other players to be responsible. Second, he adopted a bit of the xenophobic approach, right? Keeping out-of-staters out of the state, having border checks, not letting people off a cruise ship who are sick or dying, if they weren't Florida residents, and then at critical times, locking out the press. Locking out a reporter from the state's largest newspaper. He adopted this incremental approach, as you mentioned, being slow to deal with spring break, then locking down restaurants, later senior citizens, then south Florida, but he really got dragged into the full lockdown. And in times of crisis, people want bold, swift, decisive leadership. What we saw from Ron DeSantis was incrementalism.

Mehdi Hasan twisted the knife:

HASAN: You have this governor, Ron DeSantis, this Trump Mini-Me, as David pointed out, this nobody fringe congressman, who Trump endorsed and elevated to the Florida gubernatorial nomination in 2018, who is so slavishly devoted to Trump, Ali, that he ran a TV ad where his kid builds a wall out of toy bricks. That's who Ron DeSantis is. And so you have these Mini-Mes like DeSantis in Florida. Brian Kemp in Georgia. The ridiculous Tate Reeves in Mississippi, who said, "We'll never shut down Mississippi and become like China."

And they had to play down the coronavirus, because Trump was playing down the coronavirus. They had to follow their leader. And therefore, they have the same blood on their hands now that Trump has. ESPECIALLY DeSantis. In a state with the second-highest elderly population of any U.S. state, he refused to shut the beaches, and continues, even today, to refuse to shut down mass religious gatherings. He's given them an exception in his kind of jumbled up, mixed executive orders that he's put out this week. Deeply reckless individual, who's unfit for office in my view.

Velshi added that the governors, who should be relying on information and evidence, have been “governing on the basis of BS on TV, as opposed to science.” Meaning, of course, they have been governing on the basis of Trumpism. As an example, Velshi cited Georgia’s Republican governor Brian Kemp who claimed two days ago he had just learned that COVID-19 can be spread by asymptomatic people. A governor paying attention to science would have known that months ago.

Jolly was not optimistic that anyone has learned his or her lesson. Having Trump in charge at a time like this represents “a whole of government failure,” he said.

JOLLY: How is it possible that we have elevated to the chief executive office a man who is dangerous in his incompetence, and in any other government position could not receive a security clearance, and yet he has to manage this crisis? And listen: Everything the White House knew, the Congress knew as well. And how do we have a Congress so woefully unprepared that did not provide a surge in resources to exactly the same problems? Probably because they weren't paying attention, either.

Jolly went on to commend the special oversight committee Nancy Pelosi is creating but suggested it should be independent of Congress and examine how each branch of government has “so failed us.”

He has a point.

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