DeSantis’ deference to Trump earned him the congratulations of the president, who called him “the great governor” on Tuesday, arguing that DeSantis “knows exactly what he’s doing” to fight the coronavirus.
“The president has just announced that they are going to make a 30-day extension for the current guidelines, and although the guidelines do not call for new actions beyond what was before … I think it is clear that this effectively represents a national break, “said DeSantis. “We are going to be in this business for 30 days. This is just the reality in which we find ourselves. DeSantis added that “in these circumstances”, he “ordered all Floridians to limit movement and personal interaction outside the home to those necessary to obtain or provide essential services or carry out essential activities”.
Resistance to statewide order
DeSantis had always rejected calls to issue a statewide home stay order, leaving it to counties and cities to decide for themselves to ban residents from leaving their home for anything other than basic needs. This had led to a hodgepodge of rules and regulations across Florida, with some of the larger counties mandating home support, with their less populous neighbors refusing to do the same.
DeSantis has often used Trump and the federal government to defend his statewide lack of action
“I am in contact with (the White House team that deals with coronaviruses) and I said,” Do you recommend that? “DeSantis called back at a press conference on Tuesday. “The task force did not recommend this to me. “
The governor added, “If they do, it would obviously be something that carries a lot of weight with me. We obviously take whatever they say and we will implement it in Florida. If any of these people in the task force tell me that we should do X, Y or Z, of course, we’ll think about it. But no one has told me this so far. ”
About 24 hours later, and after Trump and the federal government officially extended their social distancing guidelines until the end of April, DeSantis decided to move out.
DeSantis said regular contact with Trump has prompted him to take specific measures – such as pushing people coming to Florida from the New York area to undergo self-quarantine upon arrival in the Sunshine State. DeSantis also issued a similar order for travelers from Louisiana.
More concretely, however, ties to Trump have also led Florida to receive more aid from the federal government than from other states.
State officials told CNN on Tuesday that they had already received 100% of the medical supplies they had requested, although countless states across the country are receiving mere fractions of their requests and continue to wait for l federal equipment and supplies desperately needed government protection.
Trump praised the state’s efforts to source supplies on Sunday.
“Florida has been taken care of,” he said. “Florida … they are very aggressive trying to get things done and they do a very good job. “
The Governor of Florida opened the week by announcing an escalation in his response to the pandemic with an executive order that urged residents to stay home until mid-May if they lived in the counties of South Florida in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe.
“We are going to throw guns and do everything we can to slow the spread of Covid-19,” he told reporters Monday morning in the Miami Gardens. “Now is the time to do the right thing, listen to all your local officials. We will do this until mid-May and see where we are. “
But three and a half hours later, the governor said he had spoken badly, saying it was actually mid-April, not May.
The governor’s office has never explained what led to its correction, affecting the lives of millions of people in southeast Florida. His order followed what local officials in the four counties had already put in place.
DeSantis, at that time, defended his position not to issue a statewide home stay order, arguing that his more “tailor-made” approach “would ultimately lead to better results and I think that it allows us to avoid certain potentially unintended consequences in other parts of the state. “
These tactics, however, have caused confusion in the governor’s state, which has a population of 21 million, with rules and regulations varying along county lines.
County officials in population centers like Orange County (which houses Orlando), Hillsborough County (which houses Tampa), Pinellas County (which houses Saint Petersburg) and Leon County (which houses Tallahassee) have all issued residence orders. But many counties next to them remained without these orders, leading officials of these population centers to express their frustration.
“In the absence of a statewide order, a safer regional order at home is welcome to provide the necessary uniformity,” said Democratic Senator José Javier Rodríguez in response to the governor’s order over south florida. “However, no corner of our state is immune, and a piecemeal / patchwork approach will not cut it. “
State hit hard by pandemic
Florida has been badly affected by the coronavirus. Nearly 7,000 people in the state have tested positive for the virus, with 84 people dying. And state officials fear the situation will worsen further and further, given the number of tourists entering and leaving Florida and the relatively older population of that state.
DeSantis, since the start of viral spread, has hesitated to take the same drastic measures as other governors.
The Republican governor avoided issuing a statewide mandate to close Florida beaches in early March, instead of showing deference to local municipalities for making the decision. This strategy was further complicated by viral videos of spring breakers on some of Florida’s most famous beaches.
And although DeSantis issued harsh warnings about leaving the beaches – “Spring break is over,” he said in mid-March – he continued to argue that beach decisions should be made. left to local municipalities. This has led leaders from Miami Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa to issue warrants to close some of their beaches.
Trump weighed in on much of DeSantis’ response, the governor often following the example of the president, to whom he speaks frequently.
The former congressman ran for governor, touting his ties to Trump. He even ran an advertisement showing him teaching his children different parts of the Trump platform, including building a wall with one of his children, a reference to the President’s efforts to build a wall along the American-Mexican border, and reading Trump’s memoir, “Art of The Deal”, to his baby.
CNN’s Ali Zaslav and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.