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Could Ron DeSantis Be Trump’s G.O.P. Heir? He’s Certainly Trying.

The governor has additionally taken steps to shore up his political standing round his dealing with of the pandemic, summoning reporters to the State Capitol on Wednesday to blast — full with a slide-show presentation titled “FACTS VS. SMEARS” — a report in CBS News’s “60 Minutes” that didn’t have enough proof to show a pay-to-play dynamic between Mr. DeSantis’s administration and Covid-19 vaccine distribution for white and rich Floridians.

His file on the virus is, in actual fact, combined. By some measures, Florida has had a mean efficiency in a pandemic that’s not but over. Yet his choices helped maintain hospitals from turning into overwhelmed with coronavirus sufferers. He highlights that he helped companies survive and allowed youngsters to go to high school.

What his critics can not neglect, nonetheless, is how he resisted some key public well being pointers. An op-ed article endorsing masks that his workers drafted below his title in mid-July was by no means permitted by the governor for publication. The restrictions he now dismisses as ineffective, resembling native masks mandates and curfews, which specialists say in actual fact labored, had been imposed generally by Democratic mayors with whom he hardly speaks.

Given the methods folks admire or despise him, nonetheless, the nuances appear inappropriate.

He infuriates passionate critics who imagine he operates shrewdly to are inclined to his personal pursuits. They concern that method contributed to complicated public well being messages, vaccine favoritism for the rich and the deaths of about 34,000 Floridians. “DeathSantis,” they name him. (Mr. DeSantis declined repeated interview requests for this text.)

But at virtually each flip, Mr. DeSantis has seized the criticism as a chance to turn out to be an avatar for nationwide conservatives who relish the governor’s combativeness. He can rating factors that his potential Republican rivals within the minority in Washington, together with Mr. Rubio and Senator Rick Scott, his predecessor as governor, can not.

“He’s taken the wrong approach on some of our most critical issues, Covid being first and foremost, yet within Republican political circles, he is considered to be the front-runner for the White House,” stated former Representative David Jolly, an ex-Republican who’s flirting with a doable run for governor. “He’s worked his hand perfectly.”

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