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MSNBC host Symone Sanders offered rare, if muted, praise Wednesday for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis regarding his record on handling COVID-19 in his state

The episode of “MTP Daily” featured the former Kamala Harris aide on a panel discussing U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle striking down the federal mask mandate for airlines on Monday. While the conversation began with the panel wondering how the change could affect President Biden’s approval ratings, the topic changed to that of DeSantis’ political appeal.

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Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Launched in 1974, the Conservative Political Action Conference is the largest gathering of conservatives in the world.

Ron DeSantis, governor of Florida, speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Launched in 1974, the Conservative Political Action Conference is the largest gathering of conservatives in the world.
(Tristan Wheelock/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I want to move from one politician who has been risk averse to one who only likes risk and that is Ron DeSantis,” host Chuck Todd said. “I look at what he’s doing in Florida. He calls a special session to jam through a congressional map that’s more favorable to Republicans in his state. And let’s make this special session about picking on Disney. He seems to bring on more risk. He seems to enjoy the risk.”

Other panelists criticized DeSantis trying to “grab the Trump mantle” in an attempt to become the Republican presidential nominee in 2024. Sanders, however, acknowledged that DeSantis likely deserved some praise for his handling of the coronavirus in his state.

“One could argue, I was critical of Governor DeSantis, and still am, during the height of Covid, but if you really look at the numbers, Florida actually came out all right. He has a story to tell. And the economy is strong,” Sanders said.

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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23:  Symone Sanders speaks onstage during Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on September 23, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen)

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 23:  Symone Sanders speaks onstage during Global Citizen Week: At What Cost? at The Apollo Theater on September 23, 2018 in New York City.  (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Global Citizen)
(Getty Images)

DeSantis was previously lambasted by Democrats and liberal media pundits for lifting COVID-19 restrictions earlier than most blue states. He has been a particular punching bag on MSNBC since his administration in Florida began.

Despite this, Sanders insisted that it’s “not all rosy” for DeSantis, claiming that the Florida’s Department of Education’s recent rejection of 41% of the 132 submitted math textbooks “makes no sense.”

Although Sanders previously also served as the press secretary for the left-wing icon Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., she supported Disney’s efforts to fight against DeSantis’ proposal to revoke the corporation’s special status.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference in November 2021. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at a press conference in November 2021. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
(Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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Sanders said, “My money is on the Disney lobbyists. Do you think the state legislatures down in Florida will bend to the will of the governor?”

 

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