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.
Republican hypocrisy? \n\nI'm shocked, I tell you.https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1453798732517060614\u00a0\u2026— Richard Glass (@Richard Glass) 1635472416
Ron has never been consistent.https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1453798732517060614\u00a0\u2026— LitCrit13 (@LitCrit13) 1635451985
@GovRonDeSantis is a hypocrite!!https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1453798732517060614\u00a0\u2026— LoriIsHere (@LoriIsHere) 1635448350
You just can\u2019t make this stuff up. Hypocrisy is the only consistency among the GOP.\nVaccine mandates aren\u2019t tyranny: America didn\u2019t cease to be free when we all were forced to get vaccinated in order to go to kindergarten. Use your brains!!\nI\u2019m so out of patience with dumb peoplehttps://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1453798732517060614\u00a0\u2026— Jenise Huffman (@Jenise Huffman) 1635447950
But of course he did. The hypocrisy is mind boggling— Dwayne Reynolds (@Dwayne Reynolds) 1635447854
People speculated the Governor's change of heart occurred out of political ambition.
Another example proving Republican politicians say & do anything to stay in power.\n \nThey really aren't interested in governing.https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1453798732517060614\u00a0\u2026— MiddleAmericaMS \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83c\udf0a (@MiddleAmericaMS \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83c\udf0a) 1635447966
Almost like it\u2019s a big ass grift.https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1453798732517060614\u00a0\u2026— chris (@chris) 1635447777
A politician lying for his self-serving interests\u2026hmmmhttps://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1453798732517060614\u00a0\u2026— David Froelich (@David Froelich) 1635477224
This man is simply deranged by his lust for political power. I am so disheartened by all the maniacs that run the state of FL. Looking at you @congbillposey @marcorubio @SenRickScott @GovRonDeSantis.https://twitter.com/kylegriffin1/status/1453798732517060614\u00a0\u2026— Percy\u2019sGram (@Percy\u2019sGram) 1635502135
DeSantis has yet to address the backlash.