Discover more from The Illusion of Consensus
My Exchange With Gov. Ron DeSantis At His Presidential Launch On Twitter
Full transcript of my back-and-forth with Governor Ron DeSantis as he announced his presidential bid on Twitter Spaces last night.
The Illusion of Consensus is a reader-supported publication. To receive exclusive posts and access to member-only Q+A’s, consider becoming a monthly or yearly paid subscriber:
Yesterday, I had the honour of engaging with Gov. Ron DeSantis live during his presidential launch on Twitter Spaces. It was quite the fruitful exchange where we discussed dissenting Covid views, reforming public health agencies, and the governmental suppression of free speech.
— Dr. Jay Bhattacharya
Dr. Jay B: It was an absolute honour to work with governor DeSantis…I was really impressed by his decision-making in the face of an absolute firestorm of criticism. Governor you did the right thing when you opened the schools.
My kids in California for a year-and- half didn't see the inside of a classroom whereas Florida kids were in school you can see in the results and the learning loss numbers are so much better in Florida.
I'm really curious governor, as you're running for president, what are your thoughts about reforming the public health authority in the United States and the federal government…the CDC, the FDA, the NIH…how do you see reforms we need so that the mistakes of the lockdowns that happened during the pandemic don't happen again when there's another pandemic.
Governor DeSantis: Well, first we need an honest reckoning about what happened during Covid and the only honest reckoning is that all of those agencies, all of the elites, the public health establishment, they failed. They instituted bad policies…obviously it's a novel virus, but I think what happened was when the data was becoming more and more apparent, that the path they were on was wrong, they doubled down and wanted to do it even more. I really believe had Florida not just kind of stood in the way, I think this country would have had rolling lockdowns for probably a two-year period and so their impulses were authoritarian, they were not following the data, and I think the U.S government needs to acknowledge the failures. I think all of those agencies need to be cleaned out - what I saw just dealing with them was I saw an interest in the narrative and in politics over evidence based reasoning and evidence based medicine.
And so I don't have confidence that those agencies are up to the task. I think you need major overhaul of the whole enchilada with respect to public health in this country.
The Illusion of Consensus is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Dr. Jay B: Can I follow up with that…I think the other thing that I saw during the pandemic governor, you were subject to it just as much as I was when we were talking about Covid. Youtube censored a video of us speaking in a roundtable that you hosted on Covid policy — so much of the federal government infrastructure went into suppressing honest scientific discussion during the pandemic.
So it's not just public health agencies but other agencies inside the federal government that worked to suppress the speech of Americans and I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Governor DeSantis: No question. So I'm actually…in Florida we recognize the danger there so I'm actually going to be signing a digital bill of rights for Florida pretty soon, which will bar all state and local government officials from colluding or working with a technology company for the purpose of censorship of speech because you're exactly right.
You had people in the White House, you had people in all these other agencies working with these platforms to try to take it down. And, oh by the way, what did they censor Dr. Bhattacharya for? It was a roundtable discussion that I led and convened — we had Dr. Bhattacharya MD, PhD from Stanford, we had Martin Kuldorff from Harvard medical school, and we had Sunetra Gupta from Oxford who was generally viewed as one of the best epidemiologists across the pond until she became anti-lockdown. So these are all eminent people and what are we discussing?
We're discussing whether there's any scientific basis to force a school child to wear a mask for 8 hours a day. They all agreed there was no basis to do it and that you should not have school mask mandates.
YouTube thought that that was “anti-science” and that that should be taken down but even at that point we had already had enough experience in Florida where you had some schools that had done it before the state banned the mandates. You had some schools that had done it, some schools didn't, and the results were no different — and yet his video was taken down by Google, YouTube so it was a huge, huge problem and yes I think the federal government — FBI, DHS, and even health agencies — it's unconstitutional for them to be delegating speech restriction to a private company.
You can’t do indirectly what the constitution would clearly forbid you to do directly.
The Illusion of Consensus is a reader-supported publication. To receive exclusive posts and support our project, consider becoming a paid subscriber: