Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has come out in support of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s stance on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Her defense of the key state leader’s approach stands in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s criticism of the Republican leader’s handling of the crisis. Earlier this week, DeSantis declared that he would not impose another round of business closures, as many states have done, and that Florida was “not gonna have a full statewide lockdown.” The decision earned the praise of many but was also met with derision from President Trump who expressed frustration with the governor’s unwillingness to impose stringent restrictions. In response, Governor Reynolds has waded into the debate and thrown her support behind her fellow Republican Governor. Speaking on Fox News, she said that DeSantis “deserves a lot of praise for the job he’s done in Florida” in regards to the handling of the pandemic. The Iowa Governor went on to say that new public health data had enabled her to feel safe to open certain businesses while keeping others closed, but admitted there were still many tough questions for states to consider. The comments from Governor Reynolds have come at a crucial juncture in the debate surrounding the pandemic. Many states have opted to renew or even impose tougher restrictions in response to rising cases and the looming specter of further deaths. In making her position clear, Governor Reynolds has further cemented the divide between the two leaders and their approach to managing the virus. By supporting Governor DeSantis, Governor Reynolds has sent a signal that there is signification room for state autonomy in regards to tackling the pandemic. With the potential for a third wave and the emergence of new variants, States have different needs and resources at their disposal, and as a leader, Reynolds has recognized the necessity of considering these factors in developing a response.