US politician and Donald Trump ally calls Australia worse than Communist China
An American politician considered to be the political heir to Donald Trump has lambasted Australian “tyrants” for their Covid-19 blockades – even comparing the country to communist China.
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has said Australia is not a free country with its two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, stranded by hundreds of infections daily.
No city in the world has been subject to stay-at-home orders longer than Melbourne, which broke the 234-day lockdown record for Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires last week.
The 43-year-old chief of the third largest state in the United States called the country’s strict Covid-19 measures “dramatically derailed” as he addressed crowds at an exhibition and international builders conference of boats in Tampa.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has spoken out against ongoing lockdowns in Australia, where cases continue to rise (pictured is Melbourne in its sixth lockdown)
“You guys look at what’s going on in Australia right now,” Governor DeSantis said.
“They apply, after a year and a half, they still apply the blockades by the army and it is not a free country.
“It is not a free country at all.
“I wonder why we would still have the same diplomatic relations when they do this. Is Australia freer than China, Communist China at the moment?
‘I do not know. The fact that it’s even a question tells you that something has drastically gone off the rails.
Comparison with China is controversial given that two weeks ago Australia formed a nuclear submarine alliance with the US and UK – AUKUS – to deal with the surge from China.
Images of Governor DeSantis’ speech quickly went viral online, sparking controversy – as Australian soldiers have fought alongside US troops in every US-led conflict since 1950, fighting Communists in Korea and In Vietnam.
But with Florida, like other Republican states, resisting harsh lockdowns, he has garnered praise.
‘You are a legend. I wish with all my heart that we have a leader with your clarity of vision, common sense and principles in the UK, ”one person said.
Others pointed out that Florida had recorded 53,580 Covid deaths out of a population of 21.5 million.
Australia recorded just 1,256 deaths by comparison, despite a larger population of 25.7 million.
“They’re enforcing, after a year and a half they’re still enforcing the military blockades and it’s not a free country,” Ron DeSantis (pictured) told a crowd in Tampa
“Florida does such a good job that it can criticize others,” one user commented sarcastically.
Australians have also weighed in on the online debate.
“Our soldiers are not applying the lockdowns. They have no jurisdiction to enforce public health orders, ”commented one of them.
Almost 60% of Florida’s population is fully vaccinated, a figure slightly above the national average of 55%.
The state has been free from Covid-19 restrictions for more than a year.
The Florida leader is seen as a possible candidate for the 2024 U.S. presidential race and may have the support of Trump supporters given he defended the former president when he was impeached in early 2020.
The governor claimed Australia was not a free country and wondered if those in communist China had more freedoms (photo of Sydneysider at a vaccination center)
Governor DeSantis has already apologized for plunging Florida into lockdown on most US states last year, where he has sworn never to do it again in a confrontation with President Joe Biden.
“Even to consider doing any kind of lockdown, honestly, that doesn’t make sense,” he said in March.
With President Biden vowing not to run in 2024 given his age, Governor DeSantis, if he competed in the Republican primaries, would compete in the first open presidential race in eight years.
His gubernatorial predecessors Jeb Bush and Rick Perry ran unsuccessfully against Mr. Trump in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, along with Florida Senator Marco Rubio, when Hillary Clinton was the main Democrat.
Governor DeSantis would also have the story on his side given that most US presidents since January 1977 had been state governors before reaching the White House.
Jimmy Carter ruled Georgia, Ronald Reagan ruled California, Bill Clinton ruled Arkansas, and George W. Bush was ruler of Texas.
With Sydney (pictured) and Melbourne on lockdown, Australia has been compared to China
George Bush senior, Barack Obama and Joe Biden had served in Congress, two of the trio having served two terms as vice president.
Florida, a traditional battleground state, voted for Donald Trump in 2020. For the first time since 1960, Florida and Ohio, another flagship state, voted for the losing presidential candidate.
These are also the only two elections where a Catholic was elected president and if Governor DeSantis made it to the White House he would be the first Republican Catholic president and only the third in American political history.
His Sunshine State rarely votes for the loser, but it last did so in 1992 when he supported George Herbert Walker Bush against Bill Clinton and in 1960 when he supported Richard Nixon against John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
The state voted for George W. Bush against Al Gore by 537 votes in 2000, triggering a challenge in the Supreme Court.
Governor Ron DeSantis (pictured) views on Australia have divided the internet