The Miami Herald's editorial board published a scathing rebuke of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisDemocratic frustration growing over stagnating voting rights bills A sad reality: In a season of giving, most will ignore America's poor Walt Disney World pauses vaccine mandate after DeSantis signs new legislation MORE (R) on Monday, writing that he is descending into "anti-vaxx Crazyville" after he called a special legislative session to pass new laws aimed at undermining federal COVID-19 vaccine requirements for workers.
"We thought things couldn’t get much worse in DeSantis’ handling of the pandemic, but we were wrong — then we were wrong again. Just when you think he’s done enough to undermine our chances of exiting a pandemic that has killed nearly 60,000 Floridians, he has a new trick up his sleeve," the Herald wrote in an op-ed.
The newspaper criticized DeSantis's proposed law that would make businesses liable for medical harm resulting from mandatory vaccines, pointing out that millions of vaccines have been administered in the U.S. without issue. It also took issue with taxpayer funds being used to send lawmakers to Tallahassee to attend a "special session for this nonsense."
"DeSantis has for months tried to walk the tight rope between pleasing anti-vaxxers and not undermining the vaccines his own administration has distributed. If there was any doubt of which side he favors, Thursday’s announcement put the nail in the coffin," wrote the Herald.
The news organization accused DeSantis of ignoring facts and inciting COVID-19 denial and "anti-vaxx fervor," suggesting that his policies are a fundraising tactic. The Herald opined that with DeSantis's presidential ambitions for 2024, the death toll from COVID-19 would be just a "footnote in the governor’s playbook."
Nearly 60,000 people in Florida have died from COVID-19. The state has recorded more than 3.6 million COVID-19 cases. Around 61 percent of Florida's total population is fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Asked about the Herald's editorial, DeSantis's spokeswoman Christina Pushaw told The Hill, "Florida has the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the entire United States, without mask mandates, forced injections, or deadly lockdowns. Why doesn’t the Miami Herald report on this?"
Pushaw pointed to The Washington Post's COVID-19 tracker, which shows Florida is currently tied with Hawaii as having the lowest average of daily new COVID-19 cases, with nine cases per 100,000 people.