Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is showing how extreme he is as he plays for the MAGA base in an expectedly messy 2024 Republican field. DeSantis is taking a dangerous anti-vaccine action that could result in prosecuting doctors and providers while also opposing marriage equality protections, even as more than 50 Republicans in Congress supported them. As GOP primary hopefuls race to the most extreme fringe, Ron is leading the pack in order to win the hearts of the MAGA base.
Yesterday, DeSantis orchestrated a major political production to rehash dangerous rhetoric on lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines and signal how providers could be prosecuted under his latest move – despite advocating for vaccines himself at the beginning of the pandemic.
Huffington Post: DeSantis, Who Once Praised Vaccines, Now Wants To Prosecute Those Who Pushed Them
NBC: “DeSantis was a major booster of the vaccines last year and once called them lifesaving, but he later turned against them, mirroring a shift in conservative Republican opinion.”
On the same day, DeSantis took to the comforts of Fox News to double down on his stunt and oppose the Respect For Marriage Act, which guarantees protections for same-sex and interracial couples’ right to marry.
DeSantis: “There was certainly no need to do this.”
This is far from the first time DeSantis has used his extremism to turn heads though. This year, DeSantis forced Florida to become the only state in the entire country that refused to order vaccines for children or provide state resources for administration – stripping parents of their freedom to make decisions for their own kids.
Politico: DeSantis says Florida is ‘affirmatively against’ Covid-19 vaccines for young kids
McClatchy: Every state but Florida pre-ordered COVID-19 vaccines for kids under 5
Miami Herald: “Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo confirmed that the state decision to block county health departments from obtaining the newly FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines for young children may prevent an estimated 30,000 disadvantaged kids from accessing the vaccines.”
DeSantis is making clear he sees an opening in the race for the MAGA base, and he’s not afraid to toy with people’s lives if it gives him a leg up.
USA Today: “While 31% want the former president to run, 61% prefer some other Republican nominee who would continue the policies Trump has pursued.”
USA Today: “‘Republicans and conservative independents increasingly want Trumpism without Trump,’ said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center.”
GOP prospects like DeSantis will continue to adopt more extreme positions as the 2024 Republican primary draws closer.