CNN trots out Miami Beach Dem mayor to claim DeSantis ‘allowed’ Omicron variant to strike

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Back In October, when Florida had the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the country, there was little media fanfare and the so-called experts suggested the numbers were misleading, pointing to how the state counts coronavirus cases and even citing warmer weather and lower density housing — anything but credit Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his bold pandemic leadership that has the rest of the country referring to the “free state of Florida.”

“Without mandates or lockdowns, COVID-19 cases in Florida have decreased 90 percent since August,” DeSantis said at the time. “In addition to cases, hospitalizations have plummeted in our state. This has been accomplished by making monoclonal antibody treatments and vaccines widely available throughout our state while protecting Floridians from government overreach.”

And now that the Sunshine State is seeing another uptick in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant — like much of the nation — it has once again become open season on DeSantis.

CNN rolled out Miami Beach’s Democratic Mayor Dan Gelber on Monday to blast DeSantis in the face of a surge few could have predicted a month ago, and the mayor perpetuated the myth that the governor and other GOP leaders in Florida discourage vaccinations.

“Well, as most people know, our state leaders have been more interested really in stopping people from having to get the vaccine than they have in urging them to get it. So there’s very little we can do,” Gelber said, with zero push back from fill-in host John Avlon.

Showcasing his own ineptitude, Gelber said later, “There’s not a whole lot we can do in Florida because the legislature and governor have outlawed vaccine mandates and outlawed even mask mandates in certain areas by government and elsewhere.”

Keep in mind, as New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz noted Monday, over 25% of positive COVID cases appear to be in New York City, which has mandates up the wazoo.

“I feel like this story would be framed differently if it were Florida,” Markowicz added.

Like clockwork, the Associated Press served up a Christmas Eve report fixated on the rise of COVID-19 in Florida.

Talk about a loaded question, Avlon then asked Gelber, “Do you think then that Gov. DeSantis has effectively made this pandemic worse in the state of Florida and in your city?”

Incredibly, the Democrat was allowed to say unchallenged that DeSantis “allowed” the coronavirus, in the form of the Omicron variant, to come back, opting to focus instead on “letting” Floridians get the virus in pursuit of herd immunity — and CEO Jeff Zucker can’t figure out why the network has no viewers?

“There’s no question that by deciding that, you know, we’re trying to get herd immunity by letting the herd catch the virus has just lengthened the virus. It allowed these variants to sort of come back. I don’t think there’s any question that Florida has handled it poorly,” Gelber dutifully replied.

“But right now when it comes to this, for whatever reason, our governor and legislature have decided that they’re going to champion not taking the [vaccine] rather than urging people to take the [vaccine],” Gelber added. “And that’s sort of nuts to me because that’s the golden ticket out of this, and for some reason, we’ve made it a political statement when frankly we require vaccines of children in schools. We do a whole lot of things to tell people they’ve got to protect themselves and others, but for some reason, this has become a political statement.”

“And there’s no question that making it a political statement is killing people and making them sicker,” he claimed.

A somber Avlon shamelessly concluded the segment by saying, “Worst thing we can do. And Florida’s suffering more deaths from COVID than the Americans who died from the Vietnam War. It’s an ongoing tragedy.”

Gelber may have gotten his talking points from a Christmas Eve editorial from Miami Herald columnist Fabiola Santiago, who blamed DeSantis for the omicron variant outbreak in the state.

“Last lesson of 2021, Florida: Omicron happens when we act selfishly, like Gov. DeSantis,” Santiago wrote, claiming the governor was too “busy peddling treatment over prevention.” Clearly, the U.S. media are the last remaining holdouts in the camp that believes vaccines prevent COVID-19.

This is a lazy argument that DeSantis’ spokesperson Christina Pushaw addressed months ago:

In a full-on projection mode, Santiago would drop this political bomb: “The governor [is]… governing with such authoritarianism that he comes perilously close to Fascism with every move. So many of us wish he would put politics aside, at least for the coronavirus.”

In reality, their real issue with DeSantis is his reluctance to succumb to the Biden administration’s failed approach to the pandemic.

“At the end of the day in Florida, Floridians know we will not let anybody lock them down. We will not let anyone take their jobs,” DeSantis said on Fox News last week. “We will not let anyone ruin their businesses, and we will not let anyone close their schools, so people are going to be able to live life. They’re going to be able to make their own decisions.”


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Tom Tillison


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