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Matt Gaetz Mocked COVID Concerns By Saying He Has ‘The Florida Variant,’ As Cases In The State Surge

On Saturday, Florida experienced its largest single-day increase in COVID cases since the pandemic’s start. The Delta variant, far more transmissible than earlier strains, has breathed new life into a catastrophe that seemed to be on the wane, and sure enough, the Sunshine State — whose Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has always downplayed its severity — saw a massive uptick: some 21,683 new cases, as per the CDC. Meanwhile, Matt Gaetz, the state’s most headline-grabbing politician, was making fun of the health crisis that’s running roughshod over his home.

On Saturday, the Republican representative kicked off his “Freedom Tour,” which either referred to some interpretation of the term “liberty” or to the thing he may lose once the federal investigation into his ties to a sex trafficking ring comes to a close. At one stop, while standing in front of a fake backdrop filled with images of Trump 2020 signs, he mocked the very thing that was targeting his mask-hating constituents.

“You’ve had all the experts say look out for the delta variant or the lambda variant, well next it’ll be the Chi Omega variant or the Pi Kappa Psi variant,” he told the crowd. “I got the Florida variant. I got the freedom variant. It affects the brain. It gets you to think for yourself where you don’t just surrender to the truth that they’re trying to create in corrupt big media.”

It sure does affect the brain. A number of prominent Republicans have recently pulled a 180, advising their base — which have been predominantly COVID skeptics who hate wearing protective cotton contraptions on their faces, and therefore more susceptible to the new variant — begging them to get vaccinated so they don’t get sick and/or die.

Gaetz isn’t one of them. Indeed, it seems particularly clueless, even for him, to dub something a “Florida variant” when the disease in question is now especially targeting Floridians whose lawmakers keep giving them bad advice.

(Via The Daily Beast)