August 26, 2021

Joe Scarborough shredded Ron DeSantis this morning for his covid pronouncements.

As he points out, about half of the state's school districts are defying his "no mask mandates" executive order.

"Officials in Orange County said children ages 5 to 14 make up the highest percentage of new covid-19 cases in the county. The executive order by Governor DeSantis says only parents can decide whether their children will wear masks or not, and bars the school districts from having any guidance. Let's bring in state attorney for Palm Beach County, Dave Aronberg.

"What are you looking at to see whether the governor's timing is off or whether this is in fact most Floridians want?" he asked.

"The governor picked the wrong fight and he is now paying the political price for it. He used this anti-mask mandate stuff to rise to the top of the Republican polls for president in 2024. He became a MAGA darling. But he neglected to think about his re-election next year for governor and this stuff is hurting him."

DeSantis didn't anticipate the delta variant, which is riskier for children, and that having anti-mask mandates in schools that would put them at risk. And then he threatened to defund school districts that oppose him, Aronberg said.

"And as you said, ten school districts are standing up to him. They are red and blue counties including two counties that voted for Trump in the last election. So you are seeing cruise lines now, private companies, bucking the governor. It was just a couple days ago that it was just Norwegian Cruise Lines that filed a lawsuit, but now all cruise companies are saying that they will require proof of vaccine for all passengers over 12 and the latest company to say it was Disney and the governor has said nothing in response, because it is one thing to try to bully local government officials, it is yet another to pick a fight with The Mouse."

Scarborough then went off on his standard riff about small government conservatives, as if that was ever a real principled thing -- and not just something to be wielded against social programs.

"I'm interested though, the governor is saying that parents should make individual decisions on masks. Is he saying the same thing about the five or six vaccines that every child in the state of Florida has to take before they start school?" Scarborough said.

"You're trying to use common sense, Joe. He is also trying to blame Joe Biden for not ending the covid pandemic. That was his latest accusation, which is crazy. That is like the Miami Dolphins defense in the '80s and '90s blaming Dan Marino for never winning a Super Bowl," Aronberg said.

"And the school boards are responding to clear science on masks and they also know that the governor has limited tools that he can use to retaliate against them. First he wanted to defund schools but that was unpopular. Then he wanted to defund school salaries, but he doesn't have the legal authority to do so. And now he wants to defund the equivalent of their salaries from the overall school budgets. But that is just a drop in the bucket and the Biden administration has said that they will reimburse the money.

"So we have this political standoff, which is really unusual in a one-party state like Florida, it shows that the invincibility of this governor is gone and ironically, although DeSantis has made this freedom thing, this anti-mask mandate his political brand, last year he imposed lockdowns statewide! But don't tell anyone."

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