#DesantisDestroysFlorida Trends as Social Media Users Express Anger with Florida Governor

In Florida, the Covid-19 pandemic is worse than it’s ever been.

A sobering New York Times report finds that Floridians are “being hospitalized and dying of Covid-19 now than at any previous point in the pandemic, underscoring the perils of limiting public health measures as the Delta variant rips through the state.”

Much of the criticism for the state’s pandemic response has fallen on Governor Ron DeSantis (R), who has resisted mask mandates and downplayed the pandemic’s severity at every turn.

DeSantis has also indicated that he would like to run for president in 2024 but a new Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday indicates that most Florida voters––59%––do not want DeSantis to run.

On the heels of this poll came the Twitter hashtag #DesantisDestroysFlorida. Many social media users are expressing their frustration, even anger, with the governor and have taken him to task for his actions during the pandemic and have emphasized the toll it has had on the state.

Earlier this month, DeSantis walked back his threat to slash the salaries of school officials who impose mask mandates in defiance of his executive order.

His spokesperson said “activist, anti-science school board members” should dock their own salaries if the state imposes financial sanctions on their districts.

“Those officials should own their decision — and that means owning the consequences of their decisions rather than demanding students, teachers, and school staff to foot the bill for their potential grandstanding,” said Christina Pushaw, the governor’s press secretary.

“The issue is that … superintendents and school board members are not state employees. Therefore, the only way the state could tailor the financial penalty would be to withhold an amount of funding equal to their salaries,” she added. “In that event, it is possible that the officials who are violating the law could decide to take funding from other needs in their own district, in order to pay themselves salaries. It wouldn’t be fair to the students, but it would technically be possible.”