Miami Herald Editorial Board Rips Florida Governor's Coronavirus Response, Says He Should 'Issue a Stay at Home Order For Himself'

The Miami Herald editorial board tore into Governor Ron DeSantis' slow response to the coronavirus spread in Florida and urged him to "issue a stay-at-home order for himself."

The Miami newspaper's Sunday editorial called "We're looking like 'Flori-duh' again, Gov. DeSantis. Any idea how that happened?" said that for each positive step the Republican governor has taken, he's managed to take two steps back. The publication is currently embroiled in a legal battle with DeSantis' lawyers to release the names of all senior care facilities that have reported a positive COVID-19 test. On Sunday, the Miami Herald Editorial Board criticized the governor's pandemic leadership as being "to the detriment of the rest of us."

The scathing editorial cites DeSantis' failure to cancel Spring Break events across the state of Florida and failing to issue a stay-at-home order for weeks as he would "fly around the state" promoting his personal political agenda.

"Florida's governor is the quasi-decider, expressing support for not penalizing newly unemployed Floridians, but hasn't yet signed off on giving them benefits from the day they lost their jobs," the board wrote, meticulously detailing the give-and-take of DeSantis' leadership. "Though we commend him for his all-hands-on-deck order to get the flawed benefits website up to speed; still, refusing to close beaches, letting Spring Breakers continue to cavort...exempting houses of worship from his late-in-the-game order for Floridians to stay at home, but not backing up the calls of some religious leaders to urge worshipers to remain at home on Easter."

Last week, Politifact fact-checked DeSantis after he falsely claimed there hadn't "been a single fatality under 25" as a result of coronavirus, when in fact the CDC has reported thousands of young people have died from the virus.

The newspaper's editorial writers also criticized DeSantis for embracing President Donald Trump's promotion of the clinically unproven anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus "treatment." They went on to urge DeSantis to remain in the state's capital city of Tallahassee and actually conduct his duties as governor in a time of crisis.

"[The crisis] might pass more quickly if he simply listens to the health experts, fulfills the needs of local governments, follows the lead of other governors who acted more decisively and earlier on behalf of their constituents and does his very best to do no further harm," they said.

The Miami Herald's publisher released a statement last week addressing the governor's office's attempts to stop the newspaper's reporters from uncovering a list of the names of assisted living homes where residents have become infected with the coronavirus.

"We are disappointed that the governor's office would go so far as to apply pressure on our legal counsel to prevent the release of public records that are critical to the health and safety of Florida's most vulnerable citizens," Herald publisher and executive editor Aminda Marqués González told the Herald Friday.

florida governor ron desantis coronavirus
The Miami Herald Editorial Board tore into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' perilously slow response to the coronavirus spread and urged him to "issue a stay-at-home order for himself." JOE RAEDLE / Staff/Getty Images

Newsweek reached out to the governor's office Monday morning for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.