‘Failure of leadership’: Nikki Fried slams Ron DeSantis for keeping churches open
Commissioner Fried did a C-Span hit Thursday.

Nikki Fried
Conflict heats up on Plaza Level.

Even as the coronavirus curve may be flattening, a war of words continues between the Governor and the Commissioner of Agriculture.

The latest salvo was fired on cable’s MSNBC, where increasingly frequent guest Nikki Fried, the Democratic Agriculture Commissioner, slammed Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for failing to lead amid the coronacrisis.

Fried, along with certain other statewide Democrats, have said that DeSantis has been too slow to implement social distancing measures, and has been inconsistent upon that implementation.

The most recent example, a gubernatorial greenlight for Easter services, led a frustrated Fried to fulminate Friday to MSNBC host Chris Hayes about DeSantis’ “dangerous piecemealing” approach to coronavirus crackdowns.

Fried noted the delayed “shutdown” of the state, via DeSantis’ “stay-at-home” order that she had called for weeks before a version of the executive edict appeared.

“It’s the same thing we’ve been seeing time and time again, unfortunately, from the Governor … a failure of leadership,” Fried blasted, “from the very beginning of this pandemic to his comments yesterday.”

Fried decried what she depicted as a pattern of “misinformation,” saying “words have consequences.”

Fried had castigated DeSantis for “failure to lead” when he originally issued the order, but her castigation didn’t drive a change of heart.

DeSantis doubled down on previous guidance Thursday, offering unsolicited endorsement for Sunday churchgoing ahead of a meeting on an unrelated topic.

“We have said repeatedly that we want people to be spiritually together, but socially distanced,” the first-term Republican said in the Cabinet room at the state Capitol.

“As you keep God close,” DeSantis advised, “during these important religious days, make sure you continue to keep COVID-19 away.”

Whether religious observances stand in the way of flattening the curve remains to be seen.

Evidence from elsewhere suggests that churches can be consecratory crucibles of community spread.

In Kansas, Gov. Laura Kelly told media that churches had contributed to multiple clusters of COVID-19 positivity.

Kansas City’s KCTV noted that a Church of God conference in that city led to 18 attendees being hospitalized, with three of them passing away from the disease.

Meanwhile, for Fried and DeSantis, each elected in 2018, there appears to be nothing but conflict ahead, with the fight against coronavirus becoming just one more battle in a war without end on the Plaza Level.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


  • JoetheBarber

    April 11, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Beside the constant politically charged remarks by Nikki Fried, what has she been doing as Ag Commissioner? Has anybody heard anything that she has done to help Floridians during this health crisis? Only things I have heard about or from Fried, are in the realm of Politics. From her constant support for Biden, to her hateful remarks about Pres. Trump and Gov. DeSantes.

    • Ocean Joe

      April 11, 2020 at 4:21 pm

      Actually, this site alone has recently printed 3 separate articles about her efforts to make eggs, milk, and vegetables more available during this time of shortages, helping farmers and consumers alike, so there’s that…she also did something about automatic extensions on concealed gun permits which will make you happy. Now you’re all caught up.

    • Frankie M.

      April 11, 2020 at 5:09 pm

      Gas prices are down and the limit on milk is being lifted. Consumers and the dairy industry salute you Ms. Fried!

  • JoeTheBarber

    April 11, 2020 at 1:01 pm

    V.P for Biden? Those with the loudest mouths have the best chance these days.

    • Frankie M.

      April 11, 2020 at 5:12 pm

      That’s why Trump went with a deaf mute in Pence. I’ve seen mannequins in department stores with more personality. Forget VP. Nikki for Governor!

    • Frankie M.

      April 11, 2020 at 10:02 pm

      I guess Trump didn’t want his VP to upstage him.

  • Ward Posey

    April 11, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    Nikki Fried is correct on Ronnie Roto Rooter’s lack of leadership. Florida elected a Bozo -in- Chief.

  • John Kociuba

    April 11, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Dear Citizens ~

    Re: Nikki Fraud

    Why is every woman with fake eyelashes a nutjob? She’s a Communist.

    The goal of Communism is to breakdown family units using fear, economic instability, unintelligible public education, propaganda media, destroy Christianity, so government becomes your God!

    China loves Demorats!


  • Dan

    April 11, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    It’s OK to stand in lines at the liqueur store but be damned to do the same at a church or synagogue. As long as they keep Social distancing, or outdoor automobile Easter services should be OK but raise the ire of the atheist Comrade Nikki. Yet 70% of all cases are in Socialist hot zones, Like Broward, Palm Beach or Orange County. Socialists Love sharing MISERY.

    • Frankie M.

      April 11, 2020 at 10:00 pm

      Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in my name…He didn’t say 2 or 300. Ask South Korea if church gatherings are a good idea. If you want to endanger your life by being an arsehole go for it but when you put other people at risk that’s where I draw the line. Skip church service and hit up the drive thru liquor window. It’s quicker!

  • Andy G Strickland

    April 12, 2020 at 12:18 am

    Like a good Marxist, Ms. Fried is very content to expand the powers of the state, while diminishing the Church.

  • Charlotte Greenbarg

    April 12, 2020 at 8:34 am

    Fried has a blinding conflict of interest that the media blithely ignores while focusing on her daily diatribes against Gov. DeSantis as she runs for his office. Her fiancé is involved in a business her office regulates. I’m sure media is shocked shocked to hear this.

  • Conservative always

    April 12, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, a Democrat, issued a legal directive on Thursday prohibiting churches from gathering for Easter services, even if congregants remained in their cars for a “drive-in” service.

    We’re saying no church worshiping,” the mayor declared.

    On Saturday, U.S. District Judge Justin Walker thoroughly rebuked the mayor for his mandate.

    In an emergency ruling, Walker granted a local Louisville church, On Fire Christian Center, a temporary restraining order against Fischer’s directive, allowing the church, and presumably others in Louisville, to move forward with modified Easter gatherings.

    The church sued Louisville on Friday, claiming Fischer’s order violated their constitutional rights, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.

    “On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter. That sentence is one that this Court never expected to see outside the pages of a dystopian novel, or perhaps the pages of The Onion,” Walker wrote. “But two days ago, citing the need for social distancing during the current pandemic, Louisville’s Mayor Greg Fischer ordered Christians not to attend Sunday services, even if they remained in their cars to worship — and even though it’s Easter.”

    “The Mayor’s decision is stunning. And it is, ‘beyond all reason,’ unconstitutional,” Walker ruled.

  • Conservative always

    April 12, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    Attorney General William Barr will take action against local government officials who are regulating relgiious activities, even those that follow social distancing guidelines, during the coronavirus outbreak.

    Barr’s spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, announced late Saturday that Barr will take action this week.

    “During this sacred week for many Americans, AG Barr is monitoring govt regulation of religious services. While social distancing policies are appropriate during this emergency, they must be applied evenhandedly & not single out religious orgs,” Kupec announced. “Expect action from DOJ next week!”

Comments are closed.


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