Now, DeSantis made a wager earlier this 12 months that the pandemic was on its manner out. It appeared like an excellent wager in Could, with circumstances plunging and vaccinations rising. With 2024 looming, he needed to place himself because the laissez-faire governor, the man who let his state do its factor through the pandemic with out consequence. (He was being challenged for this title by South Dakota Gov. Kristi L. Noem (R), whose reputable indifference to taking steps to containing the virus led to her state being one of many hardest-hit within the nation.) So he took a tricky stance in opposition to any type of vaccine or masks mandate, even utilizing the nation’s high infectious-disease knowledgeable, Anthony S. Fauci, as an express foil (as had Trump). He inspired vaccinations, sure, however inspired “freedom” extra.