Earlier this week, two of America’s most prominent governors, Florida Republican Ron DeSantis and California Democrat Gavin Newsom, revealed their budget proposals for the upcoming year, taking time to get hits in at the other.
The announcements come as the omicron variant continues to spread across the country, causing record high case numbers.
In their budged proposals, each governor took the opportunity to criticize the other’s approach to the pandemic, though neither mentioned the other by name.
“Across the nation we see students denied an education due to reckless, politically motivated school closures, workers denied employment due to heavy-handed mandates and Americans denied freedoms due to a coercive biomedical apparatus,” said DeSantis on Tuesday during what one commentator termed his “first 2024 speech.” He continued, “These unprecedented policies have been as ineffective as they have been destructive.”
Newsom followed up on DeSantis’ statement when asked to respond to Republican attacks on his COVID-19 policies: “They’re performance artists, some of these people,” he said. “All you have to do is watch Fox and then just decide to plug in. I mean, it’s about the easiest thing I’ve seen in politics. It’s just, ‘What’s the ticker on Fox primetime?’”
He added, “With respect, we’d have 40,000 more Californians dead if we took [DeSantis’] approach. I do not look for inspiration to that particular governor…to not only the pandemic, but to other policy, including the absurdity that was his ‘woke’ initiative and the laughability around stopping something that doesn’t exist, around critical race theory – just playing in and placating the right-wing punditry. It’s the CPAC primary. It’s rather absurd. And that’s why I respectfully submit that so much of this is pure performance.”
DeSantis continued in his speech against what he described as “authoritarian, arbitrary and seemingly never-ending mandates and restrictions,” but Newsom requested $2.7 billion to address the omicron surge with an expansion of testing, booster requirements for hospital staff, and easing the guidelines to hire substitute teachers.
The pandemic has brought out a harsh disagreement in how the two governors see the role of government, highlighted by this week’s spat. This disagreement could resurface if the two, who many believe have higher political aspirations than the role of governor, meet again on the presidential trail.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ABC30.COM