Florida Gov. DeSantis calls out other governors for 'draconian' lockdowns: 'You're not a dictator'

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had a message on Thursday for other governors who have implemented “really draconian, arbitrary restrictions” during the coronavirus outbreak, saying, “You don't have unlimited authority and people do have rights.”

DeSantis made the comments on “Fox & Friends” in response to a question from host Ainsley Earhardt, who asked if he thinks that “some of these governors that are just doing a one-size-fits-all for the entire state” are “being too strict and going too far.”

“I don't think any governor has the authority to restrict anyone unless there’s a direct relationship to combating this virus,” DeSantis said in response, cautioning governors against acting like a "dictator."

“If you look around the country, clearly there have been examples of really draconian, arbitrary restrictions that have nothing to do with public health, like you can't plant a seed in your front yard in your garden, you can't walk around the neighborhood with your daughter or something like that.”

“So some of this stuff I think has devolved into social control,” DeSantis continued. “I think absolutely it's gotten out of hand.”

He went on to note that in Florida “we did not do that.”

“We were reasonable,” DeSantis said. “We trusted the people to act appropriately and we’ve had better results than some of the states that you’ve seen.”


In Florida, beaches in much of the state reopened last week. The shores of Miami Beach, however, have remained closed.

DeSantis noted on Thursday that the novel coronavirus “is highly transmissible,” especially in enclosed environments.

“I certainly always believed that the open air is just simply a less transmissible environment,” DeSantis said, adding that he thinks “the studies have borne that out around the country.”

He went on to say that “there just aren't massive outbreaks that have been linked to a lot of outdoor activity and so that's why I got a lot of flack from the Acela media because I didn't want to close every beach in Florida.”

DeSantis noted, “We kept golf courses open, we had fishing going on the whole time, people could boat.”

He pointed out that the Florida communities that kept beaches open and followed social distancing guidelines “have some of the lowest rates, places like Brevard County, very low death rate, and so I believe outdoor activity is low risk.”

The coronavirus has killed 1,827 of the 42,402 people infected with the disease in Florida as of Thursday, according to Florida’s Department of Health.  Nine people have died and 333 people in Brevard County tested positive for COVID-19, according to data from the department.


“When you have the opportunity to be in good weather, you’re going to be less likely to be in those enclosed environments, which is really, I think, where we’ve seen this virus really spread like wildfire,” DeSantis said.

Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.