Florida gets 200 ventilators from the Biden administration — but Ron DeSantis claims he was unaware: report
With COVID-19's highly infectious Delta variant raging in the United States, Florida is being hit especially hard. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that one in five new COVID-19 infections in the U.S. is occurring in Florida — and President Joe Biden's administration, well-aware of the crisis, has shipped ventilators to the Sunshine State. But according to CNN, Gov. Ron DeSantis "claims he's unaware of the shipment."
Kaitlan Collins and Devan Cole of CNN report, "A health administration official confirms the Strategic National Stockpile sent 200 ventilators and 100 high-flow nasal cannula kits to the state of Florida 'earlier this week.' The SNS sends equipment when it receives requests from states and their health departments, according to the official. Despite that, DeSantis told reporters Tuesday that he was unaware of the request for the medical supplies."
According to Collins and Cole, DeSantis told reporters, "I'll look because we have a lot of stuff that we stockpiled over the last year and a half through the Department of Emergency Management…. I've not had any requests across my desk. I have not been notified of that. But they are in contact with the hospitals. I'm personally in contact with CEOs of a lot of the major hospitals."
Christina Pushaw, DeSantis' press secretary, didn't know anything about the medical supplies request either.
Pushaw told CNN, "The first he had heard of it was that reporter's question to him. I can also confirm that no one in the Executive Office of the Governor was involved or aware of the request."
The shipment of ventilators comes at a time of tension between Biden's administration and DeSantis, who recently issued an executive order barring public school districts throughout Florida from requiring that students wear protective face masks in the classroom. Members of Biden's administration believe that local school districts in Florida should be able to decide for themselves if they want to require masks; DeSantis doesn't believe that school districts anywhere in Florida should be allowed to require masks. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, a former GOP congressman and Never Trump conservative who served in the U.S. House of Representatives via Florida, has slammed DeSantis as a "big government, one-size-fits-all socialist" for his COVID-19 policies, including that executive order.
Some school administrators in Florida, fearing for the safety of children, have vowed to defy DeSantis' executive order — and DeSantis, in response, has threatened to retaliate by withholding their salaries. White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain told CNN's Anderson Cooper that DeSantis should "get out of the way of the educators who want to keep their kids safe."
DeSantis has also displayed an aloof and cavalier attitude as the crisis has surged in his state. He tried to blame undocumented immigrants for the rising spread of the virus, despite no evidence for this claim and the fact that his state lacks a border with any foreign country. He also suggested that the increased number of hospitalized Covid patients may overstate the severity of the crisis.
Under the previous administration, President Donald Trump frequently used the governor's requests for federal assistance as leverage to pressure them into praising his performance.
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