Gov. Ron DeSantis at a news conference at Pinellas County schools, Aug. 11, 2021. Credit: Gov. DeSantis Facebook
Gov. Ron DeSantis held a fairly standard press conference Wednesday to kick off the new school year, streaming the event onto his Facebook page. But the comments section came alive with political conversations from Floridians and others.
Those comments provided a wide-ranging sampling of opinions about the governor, his handling of the pandemic, and the overall political climate in Florida — a microcosm of how Floridians interpret politics within in the Sunshine State.
The comments were submitted during a live stream of a press conference located at an elementary school in Pinellas County. DeSantis, along with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, were there to bring in the 2021-22 school year and highlight $1,000 bonuses heading to Florida teachers and principals for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some Republican state lawmakers also attended: Rep. Nick DiCeglie, Rep. Chris Latvala, and Rep. Traci Koster. DiCeglie and Latvala both represent parts of Pinellas County. Koster represents parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
While the commenters largely supported the governor — with shout-outs of “Best governor ever!” and “DeSantis for president!” — there were also scathing remarks about his handling of the pandemic.
“What an awful, kid murdering animal,” one commenter said. Another simply responded with a nickname critics have given to him: “DeathSantis.”
Many commenters referred to the teacher bonuses that the press conference showcased, with some happy at the recognition Florida teachers were getting.
“Thanks to our teachers! Your investment in our kids is appreciated. Thanks Gov. Ron DeSantis,” said one user.
But others believed the bonuses do not go far enough.
“I am a math coach. Last year I covered 2 classes after teachers quit in the first semester,” reads one comment. “I was a used as sub coverage for teachers that were quarantined and I proctored our numerous tests so that classroom teachers could stay with their students. It’s crazy that I don’t get a bonus but a principal does.”
Some users took shots at decisions made by Florida school districts about masks. Two districts, Alachua and Broward, are requiring masks for all students this school year, despite an executive order and rules forbidding districts from doing so.
Some Floridians disagreed.
“Get Broward public schools in line Mr. Governor!!” one commenter wrote. “Parents choice needed in Alachua County!” wrote another.
Others favored a mask mandate.
“Quit making mask wearing political! All schools should have mask wearing mandatory. This is a dire health crisis, NOT a political-parent freedom of choices one,” one Facebook user wrote.
Meanwhile, onlookers from other states joined in, too, showcasing that people from all over the nation are watching Florida politics.
“Thank God that you all have a governor that tells the TRUTH. He is WONDERFUL! The governor in Kentucky lies and our children are suffering because of his lies here in Kentucky,” one said.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.