Even by Florida standards, state Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo is off to a ridiculous start. Over the course of his first month on the job, the controversial doctor with a record of strange ideas has publicly questioned the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, denounced vaccine requirements, and referenced unsubstantiated conspiracy theories to argue against the vaccines.
He also encouraged Floridians to "stick with their intuition" about the deadly crisis, as opposed to following the guidance of public health officials who actually know what they're talking about.
Yesterday, predictably, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis extended his public support for his hand-picked surgeon general. "You don't want somebody that's just going to genuflect to the narrative of the day," the governor said, "or to listen to these TV doctors that have been wrong on everything from the very beginning."
The Floridian proceeded to accuse unnamed public health authorities of "lying," before concluding, "It shouldn't be politics. None of this should have been from the very beginning. Unfortunately, it has been terribly politicized."
To be sure, it was unsettling to see the Republican governor, who's repeatedly followed a political script in response to the pandemic, make such a comment with a straight face.
A Washington Post analysis helped capture the context:
DeSantis's news conference Thursday was focused on his opposition to vaccine mandates from the Biden administration and how his state would be filing a lawsuit against the federal government. Despite the fact that vaccines work and that there are obviously groups of people who would respond positively to requirements, DeSantis brought together reporters and Floridians to denounce the federal effort to promote those requirements. Who, oh who, is politicizing this pandemic? It's a mystery.
As for Ladapo, those hoping to see the governor steer his state away from "Crazyville," and perhaps rebuke his bizarre surgeon general's antics, were left wanting.