Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stifled negative information about the state’s coronavirus pandemic in the weeks before the election, a new report has claimed.
DeSantis, who has been one of the staunchest backers of President Donald Trump, tried to suppress information about the pandemic’s effects in the state for weeks leading up to the November 3 election, The Independent reported. Citing a report from the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the outlet noted that DeSantis tried to persuade the Department of Health to stop issuing public statements between September 3 and November 3.
While DeSantis was not on the ballot this year, the state was a key battleground in the presidential race and ended up being one of the strongest performances for Trump. While he lost a series of key battlegrounds in the Rust Belt, the president outperformed expectations in many parts of Florida, where a number of polls had shown Joe Biden in the lead in the weeks before the election.
The report claimed that the Republican governor “suppressed unfavorable facts, dispensed dangerous misinformation, dismissed public health professionals, and promoted the views of scientific dissenters” who shared his views on coronavirus.
DeSantis has come under fire for his approach to the pandemic, as he trailed many states in issuing restrictions back in the spring and was one of the first to begin allowing nonessential businesses and public spaces to reopen. As The Hill noted, he has remained opposed to more stringent measures, even as the number of infections and deaths have risen both in Florida and across the country. The outlet noted that he has not issued a mask mandate and made few closures, with a focus on keeping the economy open.
As the outlet reported, he appeared to be following the example set by Trump in doing so.
“DeSantis, along with South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R), both staunch Trump allies, are maintaining an approach that mirrors the example set by the Trump administration,” The Hill stated.
“That’s left strategists wondering whether they are betting that sticking with President Trump will propel them to reelection or perhaps even to higher office.”
This is not the first time that DeSantis has been accused of trying to cover up numbers regarding the pandemic in Florida. As The Inquisitr reported, he was also accused of using his office’s legal team to pressure the Miami Herald into dropping a lawsuit that had been aimed at uncovering information about the total number of cases and deaths.