In what initially appeared to be a joke before speaking at a cybersecurity event in Southern Florida held for highschoolers and university students, Ron DeSantis appeared to lose his temper. He demanded that a group of children around him remove their masks, scowling and berating their mask-wearing “theater” and “ridiculous.”
DeSantis’ theme of governance has been siphoning powers from both the federal, and local, governments and instead concentrating as much power as possible the state level under his direct control.
He is most well known for his erratic and contradictory policies towards the COVID pandemic. He on one hand passed legislation allowing the state government to prosecute private businesses who implemented certain vaccine mandates, labelling it a freedom of choice issue, but then also banned localities and school districts from enforcing mask mandates to prevent spread to those very unvaccinated students and their parents. This makes him angrily criticizing the very choice of students that he passed legislation to protect all the more ironic.
Despite largely owing his position to Donald Trump who he largely mirrored in his style and political platform, DeSantis has suggested that he would not accede to Trump if they were both competing for the 2024 Republican nomination, leading Trump to turn on him in recent months as he suspects DeSantis’ ambitions.
Apparently critical of DeSantis’ confusing rhetoric regarding both COVID and the American vaccines, of the development plans were originally initiated by Trump, Trump labelled politicians who take the vaccine and then refuse to admit it “gutless.” This group includes DeSantis, in comments viewed by many as a deliberate swipe at his rival who Trump may think has ambitions to supersede him within the Republican party. In polling, Donald Trump loses to DeSantis amongst general Florida Republicans (University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab), but at the CPAC straw-poll Trump was seen beating DeSantis by a nearly 30 point margin amongst Republican elites.