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Douglas Andrews / October 6, 2021

The Worst of Them Attack Casey DeSantis

The breast cancer diagnosis of the wife of Florida’s Republican governor brought out the best in most and the worst in some.

Our coverage of Ron DeSantis so far this year has focused on his abilities as a governor and, perhaps, as a future president. We can forgive him if those trivialities are the farthest things from his mind right now.

“I am saddened to report,” Governor DeSantis said in a statement Monday, “that Florida’s esteemed First Lady and my beloved wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer.” He continued:

As the mother of three young children, Casey is the centerpiece of our family and has made an impact on the lives of countless Floridians through her initiatives as First Lady. As she faces the most difficult test of her life, she will have not only have my unwavering support but the support of our entire family, as well as the prayers and well wishes from Floridians across our state. Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up.

His announcement brought out the best in most of us, with well wishes flooding in from across the political spectrum. That’s just as it should be.

“Sending so much love to Casey DeSantis and her family,” tweeted Fox News meteorologist Janice Dean, who’s been battling multiple sclerosis since 2005. “Sometimes being diagnosed with an illness uncovers the strength we never knew we had and I hope all the prayers from others lift her spirits up to fight with all her might.”

“Our hearts are with Florida’s First Lady Casey DeSantis and her family,” tweeted Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat who hopes to unseat her husband in next year’s gubernatorial election. “We are all praying for you!” Fried tweeted the same message in Spanish, and then, no doubt sensing the partisan political climate and the ugliness that lurks on the fringes of her party, she then tweeted this: “If you choose to reply to this tweet, please show some empathy. Casey is a mother of three and deserves our support in this difficult fight.”

Again, that’s as it should be. And that’s as it mostly was. But still:

“Gonna be really hard to offer thoughts and prayers to Casey DeSantis, wife of a man who botched a pandemic that led to the deaths of 55,000+ Floridians.”

That tweet came from a pathetic and misguided soul calling himself Death Metal Viking. As we write, his message has 567 likes, 68 retweets, and an assortment of likeminded awfulness below it. (For comparison, Nikki Fried’s tweet has 10,300 likes and 1,100 retweets, which makes clear that the haters are in the tiny minority.)

We can all agree that these hate-filled folks are sick. But at the same time, we can draw a distinction between liberals and leftists: Nikki Fried and those like her are liberals; Death Metal Viking and his ilk are leftists.

Casey DeSantis doesn’t deserve our thoughts and prayers because she’s young, and talented, and beautiful, and a mother, and the wife of a rising Republican star. Nor does she deserve them because she’s doing good works for Florida and its people. She deserves them for the same reason that every other cancer warrior deserves them: because we’re her fellow human beings, and because anything less would be an affront to God.

God bless this young wife and mother, and may she get well soon.

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