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Republicans

Gov. Ron De Santis

Photo by the State of Florida

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has revealed his biggest mistake during the COVID-19 pandemic; a mistake that will likely ruffle former President Donald Trump's feathers.

On Thursday, January 13, the Republican governor appeared on the conservative podcast "Ruthless," where he revealed his biggest regrets while governing during the pandemic. DeSantis, a known Trump ally, suggested that he wasn't in favor of the national lockdown that was enforced at the onset of the pandemic, according to CNN.

He recalled the early days of the pandemic and revealed he was actually involved in the White House's pandemic response, offering advice to the former president. Although the pandemic had quickly became a national crisis, DeSantis claims he was relatively shocked when Trump shut down the economy.

"I never thought in February, early March, that [coronavirus] would lead to locking down the country," the Republican governor said on Thursday. "I just didn't. I didn't think that was on the radar."

Per CNN, the Florida governor largely blamed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and head of the White House coronavirus task force, for advising Trump on shutting the country down.

Fauci along with other public health experts advised the former president, but the story notes that "the decision was Trump's to make, and DeSantis ultimately followed the White House's lead, closing Florida schools, government buildings, gyms, bars, and restaurant dining rooms and advising Floridians to stay home."

DeSantis' latest critical remarks about Trump follow similar comments he made back in November. At the time, DeSantis criticized the travel restrictions that were implemented as part of the pandemic response.

Although he had also supported the decision Trump made at the timie, he again came to believe that was a mistake. "I was probably the first governor in January of 2020 to call for travel restrictions from China. I supported President Trump when he did that," DeSantis said. "But we have to take a step back and acknowledge that those travel restrictions just didn't work."

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet

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KN95 mask
Patrick Pleul/dpa

House Republicans are returning to the sort of rhetoric that experts say has fueled thousands of racist incidents against people of Asian descent in the United States since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The latest object of their ire is their receipt of free KN95 masks intended to protect them from the coronavirus.

After the nonpartisan Congressional Office of the Attending Physician urged lawmakers and their staffs this week to wear N95 or KN95 masks to curb the spread of the Omicron variant, masks were distributed free of charge to congressional offices.

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs tweeted on Friday that he was outraged that the KN95s — a common face mask recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help curb the spread of COVID-19 — were made in China.

"KN95 masks distributed to House members stamped with 'MADE IN CHINA'. Fitting for the Democrats to hand out masks that are made in the same place the virus originated," he wrote.

Other House Republicans made similar comments.

North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy baselessly attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying, "We are fighting a virus that came from China, yet the Speaker is comfortable with publicly supporting a Chinese manufacturer, sending our taxpayer dollars overseas and further advertising our dependency on China … on the faces of Congress."

Ohio Rep. Brad Wenstrup said, "The fact that the masks we are mandated to wear in the U.S. Congress are made in China is just one example of our inabilities to protect and treat Americans without relying on adversaries."

Since the earliest days of the pandemic, Republicans have used racist rhetoric about the coronavirus to blame it entirely on China and the Chinese people. Former President Donald Trump frequently used racist terms like "the China virus" and "kung flu," even after public health experts warned that doing so would cause stigma and discrimination.

Researchers pointed to this terminology as a key reason for a large spike in racist incidents against people of Asian descent since the beginning of the pandemic. The group STOP AAPI HATE documented at least 2,700 incidents of workplace discrimination, denial of service, spitting on, verbal abuse, and physical assaults against Asian American people in just the first eight months.

Other GOP lawmakers followed Trump's lead and repeated the terms.

The Wall Street Journal recently documented that N95 and KN95 masks are far more effective at halting the spread of the Omicron variant than cloth or surgical masks.

"We need to educate the public and say that different quality masks offer different protection," University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill clinician and infectious disease specialist Megan Srinivas told the paper, noting that she and her family wear KN95s and that she recommends them for others.

In the past two weeks alone, more than a dozen members of Congress have tested positive for the virus.

While Republicans continue to treat the global pandemic as entirely China's fault, scientists have still not reached any consensus about where and how the coronavirus began.

According to a September 2021 National Geographic report, the U.S. intelligence community agreed that it was "not developed as a biological weapon," but there is no agreement on any other theories about its origin.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.