DeSantis Says Newsom Would ‘Discriminate Against Athletes with Down Syndrome’ in Special Olympics: ‘Give Me a Break!’

July 19, 2022 Updated 12:58 PM ET

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking with Florida's Voice Founder and Editor-in-Chief Brendon Leslie (July 18th, 2022).
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking with Florida's Voice Founder and Editor-in-Chief Brendon Leslie (July 18th, 2022).

July 19, 2022 Updated 12:01 P.M. ET

JACKSONVILLE (FLV) – In an exclusive interview with Florida’s Voice, Gov. Ron DeSantis fired back at California Gov. Gavin Newsom for his recent criticism of the Florida governor.

DeSantis slammed Newsom for lockdown policies, vaccine mandates, and attacking Florida’s protections for Special Olympics athletes.

Special Olympics Drops Vaccine Mandate After Pressure From DeSantis Admin: ‘Let Them Compete’

“This is a guy that locked people down, that kept kids out of school, denied people the right to earn a living, wanted to force COVID vaxes on people – what did I do? I stood in the way of all that,” he said. “We made sure that people had the choice about whether they wanted to take this vax or not. They should not have ever been in a position to lose their job.”

DeSantis responded to Newsom’s criticism on pressuring the Special Olympics to drop the vaccine mandate, which would have violated state law.

“These athletes – they have down syndrome, disabilities, and they wanted to compete in the Special Olympics in Orlando. Well, there’s an international bureaucracy affiliated with the group that imposed vax discrimination on these athletes,” he said. “The athletes I met, their doctors told them not to do it based on their condition.”

“He would discriminate against athletes with down syndrome! Give me a break.”

Newsom promoted campaign ads in Florida in July, urging Floridians to move to California: “Where we still believe in freedom.”

After DeSantis relieved Special Olympics athletes of the vaccine mandates, Newsom said the Florida governor’s actions prompted him to pay for campaign ads attacking him: “I had an emotional response to that.”

“That led to the consideration of doing something a little bit more expressive and that was the determination on the ad,” he told the Sacramento Bee.

Florida First Lady Casey DeSantis also criticized Newsom for his response, referencing an athlete who was able to compete last-minute in the Special Olympics after DeSantis’ Administration pressured the organization to drop the mandate.

“For those who need a reminder… this is why we fight,” she said.

“Let them compete,” Ron DeSantis said last month when the mandate was dropped. “We want everybody to be able to compete.”

“It is wrong to discriminate against athletes with disabilities due to COVID vaccines. Florida wants everybody to have opportunities to make the most of their God-given abilities and to be able to compete in athletics.”

Watch the full interview on, airing Wednesday, July 20th at 10:00 A.M. EST.

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Florida’s Voice is a patriotic news network that you can trust to deliver the truth with no hidden agenda. Founder and Editor in Chief Brendon Leslie left his job in mainstream news to practice journalism as it should be, unbiased and unbossed.

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