Joy Behar has vocally criticised Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over his stance against mask mandates.
Behar discussed the topic on Tuesday’s episode of The View, days after DeSantis passed an executive order preventing the state’s schools from requiring children to wear masks. The order states that schools imposing mask mandates will risk losing their funding.
DeSantis stuck to his position on Tuesday even as Florida broke its own record for Covid-19 hospitalisations.
“What am I missing here, Joy?” The View co-host Whoopi Golberg asked Behar.
“Nothing,” Behar replied. “You’re just short of calling him a negligent, homicidal sociopath, because that’s what he is.” She added: “What is he doing? He’s risking the lives of children, children’s parents, their grandparents, anyone they may come into contact with, so he can appeal to his white supremacist base, so he can continue in his career and get reelected.”
Lawyer and co-host Sunny Hostin chimed in: “I think it’s really difficult to hold public officials accountable for things like that, because a lot of times you have qualified immunity in many instances. But I do have to agree that Governor DeSantis is somewhat of a menace when it comes to public health.”
The Independent has contacted DeSantis’s office for comment.
Health officials in the US have recommended that children wear masks when heading back to school this autumn. Children under 12 currently cannot get vaccinated against Covid-19 in the US, and the Pfizer shot is the only one authorised for children 12 years and up.
Hospitals in Florida report putting emergency room patients in beds in hallways and are documenting a noticeable drop in the age of Covid patients, The Associated Press reported on Tuesday. Some hospitals are again banning visitors or postponing elective surgeries.
DeSantis is running for re-election next year while eyeing a 2024 presidential bid. A central tenant of his national image among conservatives is his refusal to impose mask mandates at schools and in public or to impose restrictions on businesses.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press