Nikki Fried protests snub from Governor’s ‘Reopen Florida’ task force

Nikki fried 1.23.19
The working relationship between Fried and the Governor continues to sour.

The coronavirus crisis has only continued to widen a rift between the Governor and the Agriculture Commissioner.

On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis telephonically convened a task force designed to ‘reopen Florida.’

Most of the Cabinet was there. The exception was Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a Democrat with whom Republican DeSantis has had an increasingly icy dynamic since both came into office last year.

The Commissioner expressed pique in a Monday afternoon statement.

“This is sadly more of the same politics over state from the Governor. I was not asked to serve alongside my fellow Cabinet members on the task force, which has no voice on its membership representing Florida’s $137 billion agriculture industry,” Fried said.

“That is deeply concerning given the impacts of COVID-19 on Florida’s second largest industry, and given the progress my team had made working with federal, state, local, and retail partners to reduce negative impacts on Florida agriculture. It’s equally concerning that the Governor failed to mention agriculture on the initial call — I hope he will join my commitment to supporting our farmers and feeding our families,” Fried added.

On Tuesday, the Florida GOP fired back, accusing Fried of “whining.”

“Enough is enough, Nikki Fried!! Your incessant whining through your political messengers is getting tiresome.  How do you even find the time to make everything so hyper-political? Do you think these ridiculous attacks on Twitter make a difference?  Instead of showing true statesmanship and demonstrating leadership through collaboration, you are consistently looking for opportunities that are politically expedient. Stop playing political games and focus on bringing your party together to help Florida come out of this stronger than ever,” asserted Republican Party of Florida Chair Joe Gruters.

“I applaud Gov. Ron DeSantis for his leadership and for appointing Senate President Designate Wilton Simpson to the task force. He is a business leader who also is one of Florida’s largest egg farmers. He is a proven leader who has represented Florida’s farmers and agriculture for decades. He is a man of integrity who puts the public before politics,” Gruters added.

It appears Florida Republicans decided to give this another news cycle, responding Tuesday to Monday’s drama.

The Florida Democratic Party had previously issued its own statement decrying DeSantis for being too political.

“Governor DeSantis included the usual suspects of campaign donors and DeSantis loyalists on his task force, but he deliberately overlooked the only statewide Democratic elected official and cabinet member. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried oversees the second largest economic driver in the state and she should have a seat at the table on any task force that has a role in shoring up our economy and re-opening the state,” contended FDP Chair Terrie Rizzo.

The coronacrisis has only accentuated discord between DeSantis and Fried, whose offices are just a short walk from each other’s on the Plaza Level of the Capitol.

Fried, exempted from the Governor’s Office daily presentations, took her argument against churches being open to MSNBC last week.

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

Fried spent much of the Session rebuffing a move to take the Energy Office out of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. She called that a “partisan power grab,” and blamed the Governor.

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]


15 comments

  • Andy

    April 20, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    The commissioner certainly should be on this committee. I also don’t see the names of any labor leaders considering most of the people devastated by this crisis are working class folks. Thousands of hotel and restaurant workers , delivery folks and let’s not forget those on the front lines nurses , cops , firefighters postal service, ups drivers.
    Elections really matter

    • NoMoTrump

      April 20, 2020 at 5:53 pm

      Yes, that’s because DeSatan is a Republican hack. A bootlicking sycophant. All he aims to do is please his Dear Leader. The So-called “committee” is put in place to generate revenue for big biz and corporations, none of which will assist those who truly need the help.

      • Tammy

        April 21, 2020 at 9:02 am

        How “uninformed ” can you possibly be??? If those “big, bad companies” don’t open up, there will be no one “to assist those who truly need it”…Those evil companies give “those who truly need it” A JOB ..A job gives money for food, rent, car…I could go on and on…When was the last time you gave someone the means (a job) to make money??

  • Frankie M.

    April 20, 2020 at 6:03 pm

    If DeSantis learned anything from his mentor it’s surround yourself with sycophants. People who disagree with you are dangerous and must be ignored and/or ridiculed at every opportunity.

  • Patti Lynn

    April 20, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    DuhSantis’ actions continue to be political, rather than designed to benefit the people of FloriDUH. It is obvious that the inept occupant of the White House is calling the shots in FloriDUH. Right now, the task force will have to address those without the ability to BUY food, due to the unemployment fiasco. HOW do you exclude agriculture??? Is there a THOUGHTFUL Republican out there who can reason with the Governor?? This needs to change, quickly!

  • Ro

    April 21, 2020 at 2:25 am

    I guess he will not here this on the reopen committee ,if y’all open now the covid19 deadly virus without more testing kits and swabs to do mass testing, it will allow the conano virus to repeat again worse than it been here in the state. Nikki deserves to serve on committee ,we need her at the table

  • The Great COVID Panic of 2020

    April 21, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Since Democrats were (and are) the ones screaming for everything to be shut down until a vaccine might be developed, why would they be a priority on the re-opening committee? You made this mess, we’ll clean it up.

    • Scott Rawlings

      April 21, 2020 at 9:22 am

      Bingo!

    • Ocean Joe

      April 21, 2020 at 9:59 am

      Like you cleaned up the last financial meltdown (2008). Cant wait!

      • Ocean Joe

        April 21, 2020 at 10:17 am

        And your nominee opposed bailing out GM. GM is now building ventilators.

  • Frankie M.

    April 21, 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Is he talking about Trump or Nikki Fried? Everybody’s a bully til they get punched in the face.

    Do you think these ridiculous attacks on Twitter make a difference? Instead of showing true statesmanship and demonstrating leadership through collaboration, you are consistently looking for opportunities that are politically expedient. Stop playing political games and focus on bringing your party together to help Florida come out of this stronger than ever,” asserted Republican Party of Florida Chair Joe Gruters.

    Looks like Desantis political messengers have once again laid an egg. See what I did there? That being said Fried needs to learn how to play the game. Tell Ronnie what a great job he’s doing and then when people start dying again next month shrug your shoulders and blame it on somebody else. If it’s good enough for the White House, it’s good enough for us.

  • Paul

    April 21, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    This just shows what a partisan hack Desantis is? He doesn’t care about working families. Him and his cohorts need to be voted out!

  • Steve

    April 21, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Oh please. The only political hack here is Nikki. She’s so intent on trying for governor that she using the age-old democrat tactic of using a crisis to gain political capital. She needs to be supporting Ron and being a team player instead of whining about every decision he makes. Go ahead and complain AFTER the crisis is over Nikki, not while it’s going on. Besides, she’s never even RUN a business before and she wants to be on a task force to re-open the economy? I don’t believe the other cabinet members are actually ON the task force anyway. They were there symbolically for the first meeting.

  • wes

    April 21, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    Nikki Fried is incompetent.
    I’ve dealt with Nikki Fried before and I am not surprised one bit.
    We need people there intent on getting things done and not sitting back and sniping.
    Yes, it would have been a better political move if the governor included her but sometimes it’s about real results and what’s best for Floridians.

  • Ron Martin

    April 27, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    How dare the republicans say Nikki is whining trumpfdesantis should be willing to put his dislike of her for the good of citizens, she wasn’t out their byb him but was democratically elected to the cabinet whether the republicans like it or not.agriculyue workers that gather fruit, veggies, and work in the heat and ride busses side by side are in danger toget this deadly virus

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Jesse Scheckner, Scott Powers, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories