Ron DeSantis: Florida’s governor was spotted mask-less at the Super Bowl. His reason is, uh, not great.

In a photo that was circulated widely on Twitter Sunday night, DeSantis is shown in a stadium suite — mask-less and far closer than six feet away from someone with whom he is speaking. A person with a mask on is visible in the next suite. Here’s the photo:

“Someone said, ‘hey, you were at the Super Bowl without a mask’ … but how the hell am I going to be able to drink a beer with a mask on? Come on. I had to watch the Bucs win.”

Ha ha ha! Oh man! DeSantis really owned us mask-wearing rubes! He couldn’t drink a beer and wear a mask! Take that, jerks!
Except that, well, the Covid-19 pandemic isn’t behind us. It’s killed almost 465,000 Americans, including almost 28,000 Floridians. And one of the best — and only — ways we have to combat the virus until we reach herd immunity via the vaccine is to wear a mask.

And yet, DeSantis not only didn’t wear a mask — at least for some of the game — but also celebrated his move by somehow suggesting you can’t drink a beer and wear a mask. Fun fact: You can! Take mask down. Sip beer. Put mask back on. Repeat.

This isn’t the first time that DeSantis has gone against the science to, uh, prove a point or something?

As South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Steve Bousquet reported back in December, DeSantis aides had written parts of an op-ed in mid-July 2020 in which the governor would urge Floridians to wear a mask to stop the spread of the virus. The op-ed was never sent.
In September of last year, DeSantis issued an executive order banning local governments from enforcing mask mandates. (He extended that order in November.) Last summer, DeSantis was asked about a mask mandate. “We’ve advised that’s something that could make an impact,” he said. “At the same time, to do police and put criminal penalties on that is something that probably would backfire.”
And DeSantis drew national mockery all the way back in the spring of 2020 when he appeared incapable of properly putting on a mask during an event.

DeSantis’ mask skepticism — and his proud embrace of not wearing a mask at the Super Bowl — appears to be entirely rooted in his strict adherence to doing whatever former President Donald Trump, who is not a doctor, says when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Florida governor was one of the last chief executives in the country to issue a stay-at-home order back in the spring after repeatedly deferring to local authorities to make those decisions amid the rising number of cases. (Sidebar: So, in DeSantis’s mind, local officials were good to make that call but can’t decide whether mask mandates are necessary now? Um, OK.) When he reversed course in early April and did finally issue that stay-at-home order, DeSantis was remarkably transparent. “When you see the President up there and his demeanor the last couple of days, that’s not necessarily how he always is,” explained DeSantis.

So, the governor of Florida made his call on issuing a stay-at-home order based on his reading of Trump’s “demeanor?” This is all fine!

DeSantis’ actions have kept him in the good graces of Trump, which means he will almost certainly have an unfettered path to the Republican nomination for governor next year. But will his cavalier attitude about masks come back to bite him among general election voters? We’re going to find out.

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