Ron DeSantis: Re-Open Florida Task Force conference call troubles may have been intentional

Task for members were forced to reschedule for 24 hours later, compressing an already tight workweek.

Hit by a wave of technical issues Wednesday, the most politicized of the Re-Open Florida Task Force’s working groups was forced to reschedule for Thursday morning.

But Gov. Ron DeSantis believes the seemingly innocent IT blip, all too common as meetings shift electronically amid coronavirus social distancing measures, may not have been so innocent.

“It didn’t just happen,” DeSantis told reporters later Wednesday. “There was something that caused that, and it may have been intentional, so we’re looking into that.”

Pressed to expound, the Governor gave a little more line: “They don’t think that it was just something — that it was just a snafu. They think it may have been something that was caused.”

Three task force working groups were slated to meet telephonically that morning, including one encompassing agriculture and other industries described as low risk for COVID-19 spread. The first presentation began 41 minutes into the call after the first round of difficulties, but the task force called a mulligan after only four more minutes.

With DeSantis’ choice to not hand Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried leadership of the working group — rather, his choice to leave her off the task force altogether — Fried and fellow Democrats called the decision to leave her off political. But the Governor tapped Senate President-Designate Wilton Simpson, an egg farmer empaneled on the task force, who he said was able to represent that sector just fine.

Helen Aguirre Ferre, DeSantis’ spokeswoman, said the administration could not share why it believed the torpedoing of the task force call may have been intentional, but she assured Florida Politics that the administration was taking every precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Originally rescheduled for noon Wednesday, a followup call never happened. The breakout group will hold a new phone call at 10 a.m. Thursday.

It was not immediately clear whether the lost day put the task force behind schedule to return its initial findings by Friday, as the Governor has charged it.

Renzo Downey

Renzo Downey covers state government for Florida Politics. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2019, Renzo began his reporting career in the Lone Star State, covering state government for the Austin American-Statesman. Shoot Renzo an email at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @RenzoDowney.


  • Frankie M.

    April 22, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    For those conspiracy theorists out there I’m pretty sure it was either Chiner or Nikki Fried. Maybe they were working together in concert. Or maybe they can just admit FL sucks at tech stuff i.e., unemployment claims anyone. Nah that’s no fun. It’s gotta be Communist Chiner and their double agent/infiltrator Nikki Fried.

  • Adoring Fan

    April 22, 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Errors on single phone call: Intentional.

    Broken unemployment system that’s been in existence for a decade: Unintentional.

    Got it! We stand with you governor!

  • Edward Freeman

    April 23, 2020 at 3:20 am

    Ron DeSantis is now the Jimmy Carter circa June 1980 of Florida. He has lost all the legitimacy he ever had, is believed by not a soul and is seen as a complete failure by friend and foe alike. Hopefully, DeSantis will use his post governorship as well as Carter has used his post presidency and eventually finds some way to redeem himself to history.

  • Sonja Fitch

    April 23, 2020 at 6:46 am

    Desantis shut up being defensive!!!!! Facts facts and facts. ALF and prisons facts. We ain’t there yet. One is one to many! Test tests test

  • Tom Ganski

    April 23, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    DeSantis is #floridamoron. Having dealt with the FL unemployment process, I would dooner believe the Earth is flat than I would that the technical issues of the DeSantis call was caused by a third party.

Comments are closed.


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