Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) pledged during his Tuesday State of the State address that businesses and schools will remain open as the Sunshine state continues to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
“Friends, legislators, Floridians, lend me your ears: We will not let anybody close your schools, we will not let anybody take your jobs and we will not let anybody close your businesses!” DeSantis declared, highlighting the stark contrast between his anti-lockdown approach and pro-shutdown policies enacted by Democrat-led states.
Gov. Ron DeSantis tells Floridians: "I see, in many parts of our country, a sad state of affairs: schools closed, businesses shuttered and lives destroyed … We will not let anybody close your schools, take your jobs, [or] close your businesses!" pic.twitter.com/jcNAYY5Fkl
— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) March 2, 2021
During his remarks, DeSantis paid tribute to the 30,000 Florida residents who lost their lives due to coronavirus and touted his state’s vaccine distribution efforts.
“We thank the health care professionals throughout Florida who cared for those who became ill due to COVID. This includes frontline doctors and nurses, who provided top-notch care to hospitalized patients, as well as staff at long-term care facilities who worked tirelessly to protect our most vulnerable seniors,” DeSantis said. “Their efforts helped to save thousands of lives and are a major reason why Florida, with perhaps the most vulnerable population to COVID, has per capita COVID mortality that is below the national average.”
“From the outset, Florida has been steadfast in focusing efforts on the protection of the elderly. We rejected the policy of sending contagious COVID patients back into nursing homes; indeed, we prohibited the practice. Florida also established COVID-only nursing facilities so that infections in long-term care facilities could be more effectively contained,” the governor added. “And perhaps most importantly, we are prioritizing our senior citizens for vaccinations. Florida is putting Seniors First because it is the best strategy to save lives and is the best way to honor our elders from whom we draw inspiration. We have vaccinated millions of seniors throughout Florida – parents, grandparents, veterans of the second world war, survivors of the holocaust.”
DeSantis’ address comes as the governor’s star continues to raise, which has prompted buzz about a potential bid for the White House in 2024 if former President Donald Trump does not seek a re-match against one-time Democrat rival President Joe Biden.
Both Trump and DeSantis won the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll, which was conducted in partnership with the Washington Times.
As Breitbart News reported:
The straw poll, often used as a barometer of which candidates are most popular among conservative voters, found that when Trump was included as a 2024 presidential candidate, he won 55 percent of the vote. DeSantis came in second with 21 percent support, followed by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) with four percent. When Trump was excluded from the straw poll, DeSantis took a wide lead among all other 2024 Republican presidential primary contenders, winning 43 percent support. Noem followed with 11 percent and Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., with eight percent.
On Friday, DeSantis kicked off CPAC declared that Florida had become “oasis of freedom” by rejecting lockdown measures adopted by blue states to meant to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“We are an oasis of freedom in a nation that’s suffering in many parts of the country under the yoke of oppressive lockdowns,” DeSantis said. “We see schools closed, businesses shuttered, and lives destroyed.”
“And while so many governors over the last year had kept locking people down, Florida lifted people up,” he added. “Florida got it right and the lockdown states got it wrong.”