- The Washington Times - Monday, June 7, 2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis drew raucous applause after blasting “Fauci-ism” during a surprise appearance at the Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam Sunday night.

Mr. DeSantis, a Republican, briefly addressed a crowd of thousands at what he described as the largest concert held since the COVID-19 pandemic began last year. His press secretary, Christina Pushaw, posted two videos of his warm welcoming from the audience.

“Florida chose freedom over Fauci-ism,” Mr. DeSantis said in one video, referring to White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci, who advocated for economic shutdowns, mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing during much of the coronavirus pandemic.

“My message for other states and other countries: open your states, open your schools, let people live their lives, don’t make them wear masks,” he said in a video posted by WJHG-TV.

“My Governor is a rock star,” Ms. Pushaw tweeted.

The three-day festival, which was postponed from Labor Day weekend 2020, featured headliners Lynyrd Skynyrd, Brad Paisley and Luke Bryan. More than 22,000 people attended the masks-optional festival at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach, the Panama City Press Herald reported.

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