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DeSantis’ latest COVID vaccine action contrasts with Trump

  • DeSantis has asked a grand jury to begin an investigation into life-saving COVID-19 shots.
  • He used to promote vaccines, but over time he became more skeptical.
  • This action marks a stark contrast to Trump on pandemic policy.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis stepped up his attack on the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, in a move by the Republican governor to contrast his pandemic record with former President Donald Trump’s.

DeSantis will speak from his West Palm Beach studio, host a 90-minute roundtable with COVID vaccine skeptics, and set up a statewide grand jury in the Florida Supreme Court to determine “crimes and crimes” related to COVID-19 injections. Investigate “corruption” and call for the weaponization of life. Save up on vaccines ahead of a potential battle not just with Trump, but with President Joe Biden.

Since 2020, DeSantis has made his pandemic policy a key cry of political rallies. He went against federal health officials’ advice to reopen schools and businesses in Florida before most other states, banning the Biden-backed mask and vaccine mandates.

If DeSantis decides to enter the 2024 presidential election, the pandemic is one area where governors can highlight differences between themselves and the Trump administration.

While the governor hasn’t directly criticized Trump or said whether he intends to pursue the presidency, DeSantis has said that Trump will move to Mar-a-Lago, an oceanfront private club and estate where he lives in Palm Beach. We made the latest announcements that are close to the real thing.

DeSantis often makes major announcements where he conveys subliminal messages. For example, he openly referred to Biden as “Brandon” in agreement with the anti-Biden chant, “Let’s Go, Brandon,” and last year signed a bill in Brandon, Fla., to ban mandatory vaccines in the workplace.

By contrast, Trump is attacking DeSantis more bluntly. Shortly after the election, Trump accused DeSantis of being unfaithful because he endorsed governor four years before him and helped secure the Republican nomination.

He called DeSantis “DeSanctimious” and said a governor who doesn’t announce his vaccine status is “not brave”. Not interpreted as digging against DeSantis.

It’s not clear whether Trump will lean into the success of a COVID-19 vaccine through the Operation Warp Speed ​​program. Dr. Paul Offitt, chief infectious disease expert at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said Trump should “bow” by calling the vaccine “the greatest scientific and medical breakthrough of my lifetime.” rice field.

Republicans “shouldn’t feel the need to distance themselves from it,” he said, adding that he doesn’t understand why Trump isn’t bragging about it more.

“What I came up with is he’s a humble guy who doesn’t want to put his name on things,” Offitt joked of Trump.

donald trump

President Donald Trump reaches into his suit during the press conference where he declared his premature victory in the November 4, 2020 election.

Evan Butch/AP

DeSantis leads Trump in new poll

Some signs point to Operation Warp Speed ​​could be to blame for Trump. For example, Republicans have lower vaccine penetration than Democrats, and Trump supporters booed when Trump encouraged them to get the vaccine.

DeSantis, on the other hand, is considered one of Trump’s most formidable opponents in a hypothetical presidential matchup. led by 23 points.

But if the governor is to run for president, he must contrast himself with Trump. I have.

An insider first reported in September that some Republican operatives see Trump’s pandemic policies as a potential area to attack the right-wing Trump.

GOP strategist John Thomas, who launched the DeSantis-backed super PAC, told an insider: “This issue also serves as a reminder to the American public that he made the right call during COVID to fight back against lockdowns and vaccine mandates.”

The Biden administration has often criticized Trump for his pandemic policies. But President Trump initially shut down the United States and the administration issued guidance in favor of wearing masks.

Stephen Zhang, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, told an insider that the Trump administration has “worked tirelessly” to secure medical equipment. Instead, he accused Biden of failing to “continue the success of the Trump administration he inherited,” noting that more people died of COVID-19 under Biden than under Trump.

“Operation Warp Speed ​​was a once-in-a-lifetime initiative to give people the option to access therapy if they so desire,” he said.

Other Trump supporters directly criticized DeSantis. Alex Bruesewitz, CEO of political consulting firm X Strategies, has denounced DeSantis’ actions as “revisionist history.”

“Facts don’t matter. This is what you should expect from a career politician trying to climb the political ladder,” he told Insider. “Ron DeSantis was Florida’s biggest vaccine advocate when he was ‘good’ PR. And now he’s trying to position himself for the next campaign, but he’s remaking reality, and nobody I hope you don’t notice. Don’t be so easily manipulated.”

Donald Trump Ron DeSantis

Then-President Donald Trump and then-Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis at the “Make America Great Again” rally in Tampa, Florida in July 2018.

Reuters/Carlos Barrier

DeSantis launches new public health group

DeSantis held events across Florida to promote uptake of the COVID vaccine and prioritize seniors, but has since featured vaccine skeptics at several events, leading health officials to clash with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. offered advice.

For example, the FDA and CDC have allowed bivalent boosters for children as young as 6 months of age, depending on the previous COVID-19 vaccine the person received. In contrast, health agencies in Florida recommend that healthy children not be vaccinated. Countries such as Denmark and Sweden have similar guidance.

DeSantis will go further during his second term in office after taking office on January 3. The governor said Tuesday he plans to lobby the state legislature to pass a law that would prevent hospitals from obtaining medical licenses from doctors who speak out about mitigating COVID-19. practice.

He told University of Florida Surgeon General Joseph Radapo to start a surveillance program with the University of Florida to investigate sudden deaths in people vaccinated for COVID, and to lead a “Public Health Integrity Commission” to Radapo. I order you to take it. The Commission will issue guidance on COVID vaccines and other medical issues.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at Stanford University, is one of the committee members. Bhattacharya, who was at the roundtable, said in recent days after independent journalist Bari Weiss revealed that Twitter reduced the visibility of his tweets because he opposed the coronavirus lockdown. It was in the daily news.

DeSantis offered some indication of Tuesday’s grand jury inquiry. , accused the government of downplaying vaccine side effects such as myocarditis in teens and young men.

“I think people want truth and they want accountability,” DeSantis said. “We need a thorough investigation into what happened.”

He accused the pharmaceutical industry of potentially misleading vaccines, and said that a grand jury would be “a legal process that could get more information and hold those who commit wrongdoing legally accountable.” ‘ will have.

The DeSantis roundtable focused on the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and not on the Johnson & Johnson vaccines, which have been shown to be associated with increased blood clots in rare cases. Scientists at the roundtable reiterated that other non-COVID vaccines should be considered safe.

Moderna did not respond to insider questions about DeSantis’ latest announcement. Pfizer spokeswoman Sharon Castillo defended the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine in an email to insiders, saying, ” Hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved,” he said, adding that “people around the world are now living more freely.”

The Commonwealth Fund estimates that the vaccine has prevented more than 18 million hospitalizations and an additional 3 million deaths.

Many regulators approved vaccines after “robust and independent evaluations of scientific data on quality, safety and efficacy,” Castillo said, adding that real-world studies have shown that vaccines do not cause serious diseases. He added that it continues to demonstrate that it works to prevent

Offit, who has advised the CDC on vaccines, told Insider he doesn’t think DeSantis understands the regulatory process, and the company submits all data to the Food and Drug Administration when applying for approval. He added that he does. The CDC then recommends who should get the vaccine, and vaccine results are tracked in several places. This has led scientists to learn about side effects of myocarditis and blood clotting in some people.

“I don’t know what he’s talking about,” Offit said. “His whole thing is that the data is hidden, and this surveillance system needs integrity. The system has integrity.”

But, unlike the CDC, Offit doesn’t know at this time how the CDC’s data support giving young, healthy people another booster dose of COVID-19. Instead, boosters should be directed to those most at risk of hospitalization, he said.

Offitt said DeSantis asks “fair questions” about boosters for children, but “makes false claims about safety and loses credibility.”

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