Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) regrets locking down the state during the pandemic “for even one day,” Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) said, according to Politico.
Gaetz reportedly told Politico’s Michael Kruse the Florida governor expressed one regret in retrospect, and that is embracing lockdown measures, even if they were brief and temporary.
“He told me that his biggest regret as governor is that we ever locked down for even one day,” Gaetz said, according to the outlet.
DeSantis issued a one-month stay-at-home order nearly one year ago, on April 1, but he did not renew it, nor did he implement a statewide mask mandate. This drew ire from his critics — primarily the establishment media — throughout the year.
“We will never do any of these lockdowns again, and I hear people say they’ll shut down the country, and honestly I cringe,” DeSantis said during an August 31 press briefing in Central Florida.
The Republican governor and Trump ally has continued to tout the success of his state regularly as blue states largely remain restricted.
“If you look around the country, you have businesses closing in a lot of these states,” DeSantis said at Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for Buc-ees in Daytona Beach. “Florida, we have businesses opening. New businesses opening.”
DeSantis noted Florida’s unemployment rate (4.8 percent) is under the national average (6.3 percent) and made a comparison to blue lockdown states, some of which have unemployment rates as high as eight and nine percent.
“If we had nine percent or ten percent unemployment in this state, can you imagine how many lives would be destroyed with that if you had locked everybody down and destroyed all these businesses and cost all these jobs?” DeSantis asked.
“We’ve helped save thousands of businesses. We’re one of the few states where people are actually opening new restaurants [and] hotels,” he added, describing the economic success in Florida as a reflection of “hundreds of thousands of livelihoods that have been protected.”
DeSantis announced the widespread lifting of restrictions key restrictions in September, and the governor has not looked back since.
“We’re also saying everybody has an opportunity and a right to work. Every business has the right to operate. Some of the locals may be able to — they can do reasonable regulations, but they can’t just say no. You can’t say no after six months and just have people twisting in the wind,” DeSantis said at the time.
As Breitbart News has continued to note, Florida continues to report fewer new cases of the Chinese coronavirus than Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s pro-lockdown state of New York. Notably, both Texas and Florida have reported fewer new cases of the virus per capita in the last seven days than New York despite neither having a statewide mask mandate in place.