It'll be interesting to see if any of the intrepid fact-checkers in the media's midst engage on this. Given their constant deference to Jen Psaki, I doubt it, but regardless, she told some whoppers today in a flailing attempt to attack Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
They always tell you who they fear, right?
During today's briefing, Psaki launched into the series of attacks, beginning with the claim that DeSantis is playing politics and not listening to “public health.”
Psaki goes hard after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, urging him to do more to "encourag[e] people to get vaccinated," "wear masks, including allowing people and schools to mandate" them. She adds he needs to choose whether "to follow public health" to save lives or "follow politics" pic.twitter.com/YXsXNgI16B
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) August 2, 2021
There are so many falsehoods here that it's hard to know where to start. DeSantis has pushed the vaccines from the beginning. In fact, 60 Minutes did an entire hit piece trying to slander him for prioritizing senior citizens for vacation, the group that is most vulnerable to the virus. There has been absolutely nothing political about DeSantis' approach despite the accusation here. During the entire pandemic, he has looked at the data and made reasoned decisions. By contrast, playing politics is pushing to reinstitute mask mandates, including for children, when the science says they don't work.
Psaki's mention of “allowing people” to wear masks is also an outright false representation.
By lying about the scope of @GovRonDeSantis’ executive order on student mask mandates (students are NOT banned from wearing masks), the White House is engaging in the very politics it’s pretending to be above. pic.twitter.com/FyqVEGTvro
— Jorge Bonilla (@BonillaJL) August 2, 2021
Nothing that DeSantis has done stops people from wearing masks in school or otherwise. If a parent wants to mask their child up contrary to the science, that's certainly their right. No one is going to tell them they can't. Rather, what DeSantis has done is give parents the choice. He is not going to allow schools to mandate mask-wearing because there's ample reason to believe it's an overall harm to children while providing no statistically relevant protection whatsoever for people under 18 (who are already nearly invulnerable to the virus and are not spread vectors).
The preening from the White House is just obscene. They have no special insight into what is happening in Florida, and they have been wrong all along the way as far as predicting doom and gloom in the Sunshine State.
For his part, DeSantis would fire back at Psaki via his press secretary per Fox News.
“By dismissively ignoring Governor DeSantis' efforts to protect vulnerable Floridians, Psaki is the one playing politics with the pandemic,” DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw told Fox News in an email.
“The White House should be more concerned about the flip-flopping of the CDC, which is inadvertently promoting vaccine hesitancy with their confusing, contradictory public communications. Stating that vaccinated people should wear masks and socially distance is implying that the vaccines do not change anything, which is the wrong message for our federal government to be promoting.”
This is correct, in my view. The biggest problem with vaccine distribution is coming from inside the White House and the agencies they control. The CDC's messaging is a complete mess. Dr. Anthony Fauci is still going on TV to provide out-of-context commentary (such as his assumption about viral loads and how contagious someone is). People are not going to get the vaccine if they do not believe it will make a difference.
Florida, on the other hand, has made vaccine distribution a priority for those who need it the most and it's paid dividends. Yes, they are seeing a Delta spike right now (and other states in the future will see the same if history is any guide). But that's mostly among populations that are far less vulnerable, as evidenced by the relatively low death rates.
In short, cases are not a good barometer for anything, and that Psaki chose to use that line as an on-ramp to push lies about Florida and DeSantis is more evidence of just how terrified they are of the guy running in 2024.