The right wing has increasingly embraced dangerous conspiracy theories against the lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, which have proven safe and effective at minimizing the spread of a virus that's killed more than 750 thousand Americans.
Few Republican governors have embraced anti-vaxxer talking points more than Ron DeSantis of Florida.
DeSantis banned businesses from verifying vaccination statuses before serving customers. He offered cash bonuses to police officers who refuse to comply with municipal vaccine mandates for moving to Florida. Just last week, Florida sued the Biden administration for requiring vaccinations for federal workers. He vowed that, under his watch, schools wouldn't mandate vaccines for children.
DeSantis wrote in a tweet covering the announcement:
"In Florida, there will be no vaccine mandate for children in our schools.
This is a decision that belongs to parents."
DeSantis is one of the favorites for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, and politicos across the country have considered his governorship a stepping stone to the almost inevitable run.
That perspective was vindicated somewhat with resurfaced reports that as recently as 2019, before vaccinations were heavily politicized in the mainstream, DeSantis signed off on a law that made it mandatory for healthcare workers to enter children's vaccination records into a statewide vaccination base. Previously, entering these records was only voluntary.
What's more, the law easily passed through Florida's majority-Republican legislature.
It wasn't long before people began calling DeSantis out for hypocrisy.
People speculated the Governor's change of heart occurred out of political ambition.
DeSantis has yet to address the backlash.