Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rising star in the Republican party, gained more clout as a proponent of personal liberties by announcing he would be granting clemency for those who violated COVID restrictions.
Mike Carnevale was arrested on July 27 and August 6 for not enforcing mask mandates during strenuous activity. On August 7, he was again arrested, this time with his wife, Jill.
Appearing on “The Ingraham Angle” with host Laura Ingraham, DeSantis characterized their arrests as “a total overreach.” He continued,
“This is exactly what we ordered against last summer many, many months ago, and so I was actually just recently briefed on this case, and we looked at it and so I’m glad you have Mike and Jillian on, and I’m also glad to be on to be able to say that effective tomorrow morning, I’m going to sign a reprieve under my constitutional authority.”
He didn’t stop there, adding, “So that will delay the case for 60 days against both of them, and then when our clemency board meets in the coming weeks, we’ll issue pardons not only for Mike and Jillian but for any Floridian that may have outstanding infractions for things like masks and social distancing.”
“The fact is it’s not even right to be wearing masks when you’re exercising. The World Health Organization advises against it. It’s not healthy for people to be doing that in the first place, so it was a bad restriction, but these things with health should be advisory, they should not be punitive, and so we are happy to use our constitutional authority. I think they’ve been treated poorly and, fortunately, they’ve got a governor that cares.”
Local governments reported to DeSantis that they have imposed nearly $2 million in fines for COVID violations. DeSantis has been a proponent of lesser restrictions and has focused on fully reopening his state.
The Florida governor’s conservative bona fides are well established, so much so that gamblers actually see DeSantis as the favorite to secure the 2024 Republican nomination, even over Donald Trump.
In the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) straw poll, 55 percent of those polled said they would vote for Trump and 21 percent said they would vote for DeSantis, while no other potential candidate received more than 5 percent of the vote. In a poll without Trump, DeSantis received 43 percent of the vote.
Even Trump is taking notice, saying recently that he would “certainly” consider DeSantis as a running mate in 2024. He later told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo. “You know, I’m just saying what I read and what you read. They love that ticket.”
Whether DeSantis decides to run for president in three years or joins with Trump or charts his own course, his celebrity among Republican voters is steadily growing.
The late conservative legend Rush Limbaugh, a resident of Florida, famously called his radio show “The Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies” but said that he could issue no degrees “because the learning never stops.” Rush admitted, however, that if anyone deserved to graduate from the program and get their degree, it would be DeSantis. That is the greatest endorsement a candidate could hope for regarding their conservative credentials.
DeSantis continues to prove Rush right with bold moves like banning Critical Race Theory and other Marxist ideologies from public education, cracking down on Big Tech censorship, and, in this situation, granting clemency for violators of COVID orders, including the fallacious and outdated requirement that masks must be worn during strenuous exercise.
This is a shining moment for freedom in what has been a year-long assault on the personal liberty of ordinary Americans while politicians and elitists flout their own rules. People like Mike and Jillian Carnevale never should have been arrested or even fined.
But even more critically, DeSantis is doing something that government officials rarely ever do: Admit that government can be wrong. By granting clemency, he is rectifying the arrogant and tyrannical actions of local governments and enabling Floridians to reclaim their God-given freedoms.