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Multiple late-night hosts zeroed in on Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Thursday for asking a group of Tampa students to take their masks off for a photo-op where most of the adults in the room already remained bare-faced.
Comedians Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers mocked DeSantis on NBC’s “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night,” joining other liberal media figures in claiming he “bullied” and “scolded” the students for wearing masks despite telling them they could wear them if they wanted.
“You do not have to wear those masks. I mean please take them off. Honestly, it’s not doing anything, and we’ve got to stop with this COVID theater. So, if you want to wear it, fine, but this is ridiculous,” DeSantis told the group of students at the University of South Florida on Wednesday, in a video that quickly went viral.
“Florida Governor Ron DeSantis saw some high school students at his press conference who were wearing masks, and he wasn’t too happy about that,” Fallon said before playing the clip.
“Gross,” Fallon said afterwards while laughing with the audience. “Students were like, ‘Somehow you make our principal seem chill.’ When their parents asked how their day was they were like, ‘I got bullied by the governor.’”
Meyers claimed DeSantis “scolded” the students for wearing masks before playing the video clip.
“You certainly don’t seem happy to be there,” Meyers said after playing the clip, referencing DeSantis saying, “It’s good to be at USF,” after making the mask remarks.
“How much of a d**k do you have to be to yell at a bunch of high school students who are just trying to be safe? They’re actually doing the right thing, and you’re scolding them for it,” he said.
Meyers went on to claim DeSantis was “obviously wrong,” and that masks do help control the spread of COVID.
Other liberal members of the media heavily criticized DeSantis, including MSNBC host Joe Scarborough who asked, “Who raised him?”
Sunny Hostin, co-host of ABC’s “The View,” suggested she might do something illegal if it had been her child in the group of students at the press conference.
DeSantis dismissed the criticism during a Thursday appearance on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” saying Florida was a “free state” and that there was no medical or scientific reason for children to wear masks. He added that the fact children were largely the only ones wearing masks insinuated that someone in authority told them to do so.
Fox News’ Charles Creitz contributed to this report.