Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis responded to criticism Thursday night on Fox News after he asked a group of Tampa students at the University of South Florida to remove their masks before a press conference Wednesday calling it "theater" and "ridiculous." A mother, who didn't mask, complained that DeSantis told her son not to.
DeSantis told Tucker Carlson that mask mandates create a "two-tiered society." In the workforce, especially in restaurants, DeSantis said, workers are very often required to wear masks while customers are not. He said that a 9 to 5 job "should not be an N-95 job."
DeSantis told Carlson that Florida is a "free state" and there is no medical or scientific reason for children to mask-up. "I think it needs to be said because people have been lied to for two years."
"They talk about, 'Oh, by letting someone have a choice to take off their mask and welcoming that choice,' that that's somehow bullying."
"Bullying is locking kids out of school, which they did. Bullying is forcing kids to wear masks for eight hours a day, which they did for two years, and are only stopping now because the politics changed."
"I say every time we go, if we're at a big event and the servers are wearing it, they should be liberated from those masks. It is political theater. They're doing it for the appearance. They're not doing it because it's having any meaningful medical impact."
Following the incident Wednesday, a Florida mother of one of the students railed against Ron DeSantis to local media while maskless and standing next to her masked son outdoors.