Ron DeSantis Promises Revenge for School Mask Mandates


Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has vowed to unleash a “reckoning” for “the harm” caused by school mask mandates if he becomes president.

The Florida governor made the remarks in a Facebook post on Wednesday. The post was commenting on a Fox News article about an elementary school in Maryland imposing a 10-day requirement for one classroom to wear N95 masks after at least three people tested positive for the virus.

While Republicans have increasingly expressed fears that mask mandates and other COVID restrictions will soon again become widespread, the mandates in effect recently have been limited to a small smattering of local institutions around the country, including schools and hospitals.

DeSantis claimed that the temporary mandate in Maryland was evidence that an undefined “they” is attempting to “muzzle our children” in service to a “political agenda.” He touted Florida’s ban on mandates before vowing to take action against states with different policies from the White House if he wins next year.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is pictured holding a face mask at a press conference in Miami, Florida, on July 13, 2020. The GOP presidential candidate on Wednesday pledged a “reckoning” for anyone who issues COVID mask mandates in schools if he wins the 2024 election.

“They want to muzzle your children,” DeSantis wrote. “Those mandates are DOA in the state of Florida because we’ve enacted protections for parents and children.
When I’m President, there will be a reckoning for the harm they’ve done to kids in pursuit of a political agenda.”

It was unclear what DeSantis’ “reckoning” concerning school mask mandates would involve. Neither President Joe Biden nor former President Donald Trump have dictated state or local mask policies from the Oval Office.

Newsweek reached out for additional comment to the DeSantis campaign via online press contact form on Wednesday night.

DeSantis signed legislation in May that bans vaccine and mask mandates in Florida, while offering doctors protection and patients the “right to try” treatments that are not safe or effective for COVID, such as Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine.

The governor doubled down on denouncing masking as “COVID theater” last year after being accused of “bullying” a group of high school students who voluntarily chose to wear masks during a press conference in Tampa.

Most medical experts recommend wearing masks during periods of high transmission or in health care settings, citing a trove of medical research that indicates effectiveness for reducing—but not completely halting—the spread of the virus.

An ad released by Florida first lady Casey DeSantis’ “Mamas for DeSantis” initiative in July laments that Americans had been “forced into silence” and “compliance” during the pandemic as images of crying children resisting face masks are shown.

While the governor’s presidential campaign includes promises to resist new COVID restrictions, the same pledge has been made by other Republican 2024 candidates. Trump, far and away the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, urged supporters to “not comply” with new mandates in a video last week.

There is no evidence that the federal government has any plans to impose a mask mandate or other restrictions. Regardless, conspiracy theories claiming otherwise have been rampant, spiking this week with the announcement that Biden would wear a mask due to first lady Jill Biden testing positive for the virus.


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