Ron DeSantis refuses to back down, punches back at critics outraged he told students they could remove masks

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has no apologies for Democrats angry at his condemnation of “COVID theater.”

DeSantis fired back on Thursday with a clever advertisement highlighting Democratic hypocrisy on face masks and denounced Democrats who supported pandemic restrictions as bullies.

What is the background?

DeSantis sparked controversy on Wednesday after he advised a group of high school students they could remove their face masks. Video of the incident immediately went viral online.

“You do not have to wear those masks,” DeSantis told the students. “I mean, please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything. We’ve gotta stop with this COVID theater. So if you wanna wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous.”

How did DeSantis respond?

On Thursday, DeSantis released a video juxtaposing his controversial moment with footage of Democrats without face masks.

The video showed Democrats without face masks at the State of the Union address on Tuesday, Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams without a face mask surrounded by masked schoolchildren, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti without face masks at an NFL game in January in violation of local ordinances.

“The political science show cannot go on. It’s curtain call for COVID theater,” DeSantis tweeted.

The Florida governor offered a more formal response during an interview on Fox News. He explained that he believed the students from Wednesday’s controversy were told to wear face masks because they were the only ones wearing them and nearby adults were not.

“People have been lied to for two years, and so I didn’t want [them] to be thinking that they were told to do this by me because I certainly wouldn’t do that,” DeSantis said.

Responding to critics who called him a bully, DeSantis said the true bullies are those who imposed restrictions on Americans, including students, for two years.

“Bullying is locking kids out of school, which they did. Bullying is forcing kids to wear masks for 8 hours a day, which they did for two years and are only stopping now because the polling has changed,” DeSantis said. “Bullying is kicking people out of work because of vaccine mandates. We fought all of those policies in Florida. We lifted people up, and we liberated them from local school boards and governments that imposed them.”

DeSantis further condemned masking hypocrisy as creating a “two-tiered society.”

“I reject the two-tier society. I say every time we go, if we’re at a big event and the servers are wearing it, they should be liberated from those masks. It is political theater. They’re doing it for the appearance; they’re not doing it because it’s having any meaningful medical impact,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis responds to outrage over his ask for kids to unmask www.youtube.com

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