During a CNN interview on Tuesday, comedian and HBO late-night talk show host of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Bill Maher praised Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ COVID-19 response, stating that much of it was wiser than what critics claimed he should have done. Maher specifically highlighted DeSantis’ decision to keep beaches open and implement a “targeted” approach that safeguarded the elderly.
Maher acknowledged DeSantis as an old-school Republican who effectively handled the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises like hurricanes. He also commended DeSantis’ ability to appeal to his base by throwing “red meat” while remaining a reasonable performance artist.
During the CNN interview, Maher said:
“[DeSantis] can be a real old-school Republican who just takes care of business, COVID, the hurricane, stuff like that. He just goes about his business. He doesn’t do crazy stuff. But then, when he wants to throw red meat to the base, he’s a performance artist. And he does a lot of really outrageous stuff. But I get it that that’s where the party is. If you want a big future in that party, especially if you want to take on Donald Trump, you’ve got to ride both those horses at once.”
Although Maher’s statement regarding DeSantis being a “real old-school Republican” is a cause of concern for many, given that he has been labeled as “Trump-lite” or more “traditional,” some fear that this could signal a return to the early 2000s when George W. Bush was elected. However, Trump’s 2016 victory was seen as America’s response to neo-conservatism and the political establishment, as the public chose to elect an outsider to the White House with the goal of “draining the swamp.”
Although DeSantis has not had the chance to prove that he is not just another Bush or political insider, if he can continue his successful handling of the COVID-19 crisis, pass legislation against critical race theory, and maintain his stance against the teaching of transgender and LGBTQ ideology to children, Conservatives may be satisfied regardless of whether Trump or DeSantis becomes President in 2024.
Maher would go on to share his personal experience in Florida during the pandemic and contrasted it with other places, expressing that he was not paranoid about COVID-19 but still appreciated DeSantis’ approach. Maher acknowledged that many of DeSantis’ actions were smarter than what critics claimed, such as keeping beaches open as it is unlikely to catch COVID-19 outside, and emphasizing the importance of fresh air and sunshine. Moreover, DeSantis focused on protecting the elderly, providing a targeted response to the pandemic unlike what happened in New York State.
“I was [in Florida] during COVID. It was night and day from this place. And I am not one who was ever on the page with COVID paranoia. So, I thought it was a breath of fresh air. And the people there, when they would visit me here sometimes, they would say, oh my God — in the middle of the pandemic — what are you — you people live like this?”
“It’s so unnecessary. We don’t live like this. And it turned out a lot of what Ron DeSantis did was smarter than what the people who were criticizing were saying. He kept the beaches open. Yes, you’re not going to get it outside. In fact, it’s good. Get some fresh air and some sunshine, that would be better for you. And he also protected the elderly. It was much more targeted. It was sort of the opposite of what happened in New York State.”
It is worth noting that Maher has been critical of both sides as the host of his late-night comedy show. He has taken stances against Biden, transgender ideology, radical Islam, and various other views that his left-wing followers may not agree with. However, he has shown opposition to no one more than he has to Donald Trump during his presidency. Maher has even expressed his hope for an economic crash during Trump’s administration.
In 2020, Maher got exactly what he wished for, as the COVID-19 pandemic and Democrat legislation resulted in an economic shutdown that the country is still recovering from.
For Republicans and Conservatives to view Maher as a good-faith actor rather than just another Democrat worried about his party’s imploding due to their ridiculous ideology and poor performance from President Biden, Maher must set aside his disdain for former President Donald Trump.