Throwback: My Interview With Governor DeSantis In Summer Of 2021
In Summer 2021, I had the privilege of conducting an extended interview with Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida in his office in Tallahassee. By then, I had already had the opportunity over the previous year to help the governor with his plans to reopen the state and buck the pressure from public health authorities like Dr. Fauci. In later summer 2020, I served as an expert witness for the state of Florida in the key school reopening case, where the Florida teachers' unions sued to keep the schools closed. In September 2020, the governor invited me to speak with him at a policy roundtable that included Martin Kulldorff and Nobel prize winner Michael Levitt. The day after that roundtable, the governor lifted all remaining restrictions in the state.
In March 2021, I participated in another public roundtable — censored by YouTube — in which I told him that there was no good evidence for force-masking children. He went on to implement legislation banning mask and vaccine mandates, guaranteeing the right of family members to visit sick relatives in hospital, and a host of other protections against public health overreach. In the interview, the Governor reflects on early federal pressure to lock down and his rapid realization — based on his reading of scientific research and listening to scientific debates — that the lockdown strategy was tremendously misguided. I believe this interview is an important historical document that shows how one of most important and influential anti-lockdown political figures in the world was thinking and reasoning in the midst of the pandemic.
I hope you enjoy the discussion!
— Jay Bhattacharya
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