Mayor of Miami Beach Rips DeSantis For His COVID-19 Response

Speaking on CNN, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber criticized Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) for his administration’s COVID-19 response.

“Listen, frankly, at the beginning of this pandemic, he [DeSantis] was pretty good,” Gelber said. “He promoted local control, he complimented us, we complimented him, he used me in some of his promotional videos saying he was doing a good job and then he just realized it was a political opportunity and then he made this about some supposed freedom which, of course, it’s not.”

“We require vaccines for kids in school,” he added. “We require people to do things that don’t endanger their neighbors or strangers even.”

Gelber added that “the contributing factor to this great tragedy” has been that DeSantis has not treated the pandemic like “a health crisis or any other crisis like a hurricane when we all stand together and tell the public the same thing.”

“He has made this a wedge issue. And in a health care crisis when you make something a wedge issue and you divide the public so that half the public does one thing and half the public does the other, you get what we’re getting right now, which is variants still coming,” he said.

You can watch Gelber’s interview below.

DeSantis has for months been accused of downplaying the pandemic’s severity and undermining the recovery, allowing COVID-19 to spread unchecked in Florida, He has said that whether or not a person gets a COVID-19 vaccine comes down to “personal choice.”

The Florida Department of Health earlier launched an inquiry into the state’s reporting of COVID-19 deaths after DeSantis suggested that the official reports overstate the number of deaths. The University of Florida has initiated an investigation into researchers’ claims that they felt pressured to destroy COVID-19 data after a report said they were told “not to criticize the Governor of Florida [Republican Ron DeSantis] or UF policies related to COVID-19 in media interactions.”