Yes, the guy who boasts about Florida’s freedoms has found yet another one he can’t tolerate: the right to keep high-risk athletes from COVID. So, just like he decided to punish Disney for daring to exercise the freedom of disagreeing with him, DeSantis blackmailed the Special Olympics into dropping a vaccine mandate he doesn’t like.
As ABC News reported, the State of Florida threatened the Special Olympics with the $27 million fine on Thursday night. Shortly afterward, the vaccine requirement was lifted.
DeSantis spun his authoritarianism as something democratic. "We want everyone to be able to compete," DeSantis said at a press conference Friday, celebrating his bullyboy victory. "Finally, we can report that all the athletes will be able to compete. This will be a relief for a lot of the athletes."
Um, maybe not. From ABC News:
The Special Olympics, meanwhile, has repeatedly said that vaccines save lives, particularly in people with intellectual disabilities, who are at high risk for COVID complications and death.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the COVID vaccine for people with disabilities who "may be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19."
But "pro-life" DeSantis would rather the athletes die than go against his orthodoxy. He shrugged off any concerns for their health with a shocking display of callousness, especially coming from the honorary co-chair of the 2022 Special Olympics.
“What connection that has to competing, I don’t understand,” DeSantis said of Covid-19 vaccines. “We’ve never seen something wielded like this vaccine to try to marginalize disfavored people.”
“And a lot of these special Olympians have also had Covid by now,” DeSantis said. “Most people have had it by now.”
But special athletes are not the only ones #DeathSantis seems eager to punish for trying to save lives. He also vetoed funds for a new spring training facility for the Tampa Bay Rays because the team advocated for action against gun violence after 19 elementary school children were massacred in Uvalde, Texas.
He doesn’t seem to care much about children with cancer, either.