Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has repeatedly sparked outrage for his mishandling of his state's battle with the pandemic, as the Delta variant of the virus has made Florida one of the epicenters of the latest wave of cases and deaths.
From banning mask mandates to refusing to encourage his state's citizens to get vaccinated, DeSantis has seemed to many to simply be capitulating to the virus if not openly supporting it.
But now, it seems, the governor has changed his tune--in the most preposterous way possible. According to a tweet posted by his spokesperson Christina Pushaw, seen below, there's a very reasonable explanation for Floridians' refusal to get vaccinated. It's simply because they believe masks work, you see.
If that strikes you as a farcical 180-degree turn from DeSantis and other Republicans' usual mask denialism and conspiracy theories, you're not alone.
Throughout the pandemic, DeSantis has consistently downplayed every mitigation measure the medical and scientific community has suggested, including forbidden school districts in Florida from implementing mask requirements for the 2021-2022 school year.
Several school districts across the state--including those in heavily Republican-leaning areas--have disregarded DeSantis's ban and have required masks anyway.
But DeSantis has been unswayed. He is so dead-set against masking that he is currently embroiled in a legal battle against two school districts that issued mask mandates anyway and has threatened to pull funding from the districts if they don't capitulate.
This is despite a recent judicial ruling deeming his ban unconstitutional after parents sued him over it.
Given the context, Pushaw's suddenly pro-mask tweet on behalf of her manifestly anti-mask boss makes very, very little sense. And on Twitter, absolutely no one was buying it.
Nearly 45,000 Floridians have died so far during the pandemic. Cases in the state had appeared to be going down, but recent inquiries uncovered that the Florida Department of Health purposefully misreported data to the CDC, giving a false appearance of decline.