PALM BEACH, FLORIDA — Former President Donald Trump’s latest Truth Social rant attacking Governor Ron DeSantis is littered with unflattering and misleading claims about how Florida compares with other states.
Trump reiterated his previous attacks on DeSantis’ COVID response – calling him a “big Lockdown Governor on the China Virus.”
From there, the former president wrote that Florida ranks “among the worst” in Education, 50th in Affordability and 39th in Health and Safety. He added that the state’s death rate for COVID was “worse than New York.”
Trump added that Florida is “among the worst” states in terms of crime, ranking third worst in murder, rape and aggravated assault.
Trump did not cite or state the source of his statistics, but several of his claims fail to adjust for population differences among the 50 states. For example, Florida is the third largest and fifth oldest state in the nation.
Recent FBI statistics show Florida ranked 25th in violent crimes per 100,000 people and the state’s violent crime rate was lower than the national average. Contrary to Trump’s claims, Florida is below the national average in murder, rape and robbery. The state’s assault rate per 1,000 residents is 2.94, compared to the 2.84 median rate nationwide.
U.S. News and World Report Florida ranked No. 3 overall in its annual rankings of all 50 states. The Sunshine State ranked No. 1 in higher education and No. 16 in Pre-K-12 education.
According to the 2022 Nation’s Report Card, Florida students tested above average in all three measured categories: math, reading and science on the 4th grade level, and at or above average in two of the three categories on the 8th grade level.
While rising living costs are certainly a serious concern in Florida, the situation is not as dire as Trump claims. Florida ranks No. 31 in overall affordability and No. 25 in cost of living, according to U.S. News and World Report. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center placed the state at No. 32 for cost of living.
Florida is one of just nine states with no income tax and WalletHub ranked Florida as the 6th-lowest tax burden in the country.
CDC data indicate that Florida was lower in per capita mortality rates involving COVID than New York. It was also lower than California, when adjusted for age.