July 5, 2022

INTIMIDATION: DeSantis bullies Special Olympics with shameful health move

INTIMIDATION: DeSantis bullies Special Olympics with shameful health move

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is a bully – and now everyone knows it after DeSantis threatened to impose over $27 million in fines on the world’s largest special needs sports organization for trying to keep its participants safe. Since its inception over 50 years ago, the Special Olympics has given millions with intellectual disabilities a safe space to participate in competitive sports.

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But Florida’s Governor doesn’t care.

He sent a letter to the organization on Thursday, telling the organization that their vaccine requirements for participants and those attending violate state law.

The group that provides a safe space for those with Down Syndrome, Autism, and Fragile X syndrome has been bullied into submission. Ironically, it is an organization to which DeSantis himself was named the co-chair.

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According to Florida Today, back in April, Florida GOP state Rep. Randy Fine threatened to interfere with the state’s funding for the Special Olympics due to a personal dispute he had with a Brevard County School Board member. Jennifer Jenkins has been an advocate for the Special Olympics and held Fine accountable for using his position to hold the Special Olympics hostage. Fine told City Councilman John Dittmore that “Jenkins just put your project and Special Olympics funding on the veto list.”

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Unfortunately, the Special Olympics acquiesced to De Santis’ bullying. They eliminated their vaccine mandate in order to hold the annual event in Florida and avoid tens of millions in fines.

The Special Olympics did this even though a New England Journal of Medicine report — based on a study of almost 65 million patients with intellectual disabilities – revealed that:

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“Having an intellectual disability was the strongest independent risk factor for presenting with a Covid-19 diagnosis and the strongest independent risk factor other than age for Covid-19 mortality. Screening for Covid-19, care coordination and vaccination efforts should be intense within this population that is less able to consistently use masks and socially distance.”

DeSantis wasted no time patting himself on the back for bullying the special needs organization into submission, all while purporting to be a supporter and advocate of the Special Olympics.

During his speech, Gov. Ron DeSantis said:

“Your rights or your freedoms should not be circumscribed to take, or not take a Covid vaccine.”

He left out the rights or freedoms to not be given a life-threatening — and potentially deadly — virus by those who aren’t vaccinated. What about the freedoms of those immunocompromised and already at risk – be it from intellectual or physical hindrance – to be safe from death or harm?

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick.

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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