Florida Democrats, including the party chair and a Congresswoman, convened telephonically Thursday to pan Pres. Donald Trump for his “chaotic” coronavirus response in Florida.
Terrie Rizzo, chair of the Florida Democratic Party, was joined by two representatives from hard-hit South Florida: U.S. Rep. Donna Shalala and State Rep. Nicholas Duran.
The group painted a grim picture of the President’s performance thus far.
Rizzo described a “delayed and chaotic” response from the President, who failed to “scale up testing” at critical moments last month.
“Trump was warned about this pandemic months ago, and he failed to take decisive action,” Rizzo said, noting that the President called COVID-19 a “Democratic hoax.”
“Trump is trying to rewrite history,” Rizzo said. “The situation is getting worse across America, including Florida.”
Democrats are encouraged to “hold Trump accountable at the ballot box in November.”
Shalala, a former federal secretary of Health and Human Services, spotlighted Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“He hesitated and hesitated and hesitated to declare stay-in-place orders for everyone in Florida,” Shalala said. “Numerous people will die.”
Shalala castigated DeSantis for disallowing cruise ships with sick patients to dock in Florida, ironically enough aligning with President Donald Trump, who broke with DeSantis on this matter.
“Our Governor shamefully and immorally suggested that ship could not land in Florida,” Shalala chided.
Rep. Duran described a state “two steps behind” where it should be in the process of fighting the virus, taking its cues from the White House. He described a health care system failing at every level, slow to react in normal times and perilous during a pandemic.
Duran, like most legislators, anticipates a return to Tallahassee later in the Spring to refine a budget formulated in and for a pre-coronavirus era.
Dr. Kayser Enneking, a state House candidate in the Gainesville area, focused on testing shortfalls.
“We know the numbers are not representative of the amount of community spread we’ve had,” Enneking said.
The Doctor spotlighted the Villages, a community of fun-loving seniors who “are playing golf everyday” and “will overwhelm our system.” Enneking thought “lockdown” of the state, green-lighted by a reluctant Governor Wednesday, should have happened long before.
A failure to expand Medicaid, the Doctor added, has also harmed Florida’s response to the crisis.
Hospital staff, including doctors and nurses, are “worried and distracted” beyond measure about bringing the virus home, Enneking said.
A lack of PPE, including masks, is one existential concern. A lack of a cohesive plan from state and federal leaders is another.