September 8, 2023

DeSantis Criticizes Trump Over 2021 Letter Telling Florida to Mask, Social Distance

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized the Trump White House for a 2021 letter that called for the state to return to masking and social distancing.

The letter came from Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force on Jan. 10, 2021.

"For months, May 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, even January of 2021, I was getting hit by the White House Task Force under Trump. This wasn’t even Biden. This was Trump. … Weeks before they left office, they were sending us missives to Florida, saying, ‘Impose mask mandates, and close bars and restaurants and businesses,'" DeSantis said Thursday.

"Without uniform implementation of effective face masking (two or three-ply and well-fitting) and strict physical distancing, epidemics could quickly worsen as more transmissible variants spread and become dominant," the letter said.

"In a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday, Trump slammed DeSantis's COVID-19 handling, saying, 'He shut down Florida. It was tight as a drum. He had vax lines. He was vaxxing everything. Now, he talks about the vaccinations this and that,'" the Washington Examiner reported.

"But in the letter sent to Florida from Trump's task force, DeSantis was told, 'Do not delay the rapid immunization of those over 65 and vulnerable to severe disease.'"

Trump's criticisms of the Florida governor's pandemic actions now look in question as the evidence is revealed related to what took place during the former president's administration.

DeSantis gained national prominence for his strong pushback against COVID restrictions under both Trump and President Joe Biden.

While some states closed schools for up to two years, Florida had only a short-term closure and remained known for being open for business, becoming a location for those fleeing other states.

DeSantis hopes to build on his Florida success for a national win but he'll have to somehow manage to catch up with Trump as the clock is ticking on the 2024 primaries.

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