Agricultural Commissioner Nikki Fried doubled down on Gov. Ron DeSantis Tuesday, resubmitting her same discussion requests that went unfulfilled at the prior Cabinet meeting on May 28.
Fried’s agenda requests include an update on wildfire conditions across the state and the recently signed $380 million federal timber block grant, food distribution efforts in light of Florida’s high unemployment, an update from the Department of Revenue on Florida’s $2 billion loss in state revenue, and a discussion of Florida’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and data integrity particularly concerning the termination of state worker Rebekah Jones.
Fried would also like to hear an update from Surgeon General Scott Rivkees and discuss the appointment of a Chief Judge to the Division of Administrative Hearings, a position which is currently not filled.
Fried has long been critical of DeSantis for his alleged lack of communication with his Cabinet and his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the previous Cabinet meeting in May, which took place four months after the last meeting, Fried seized the moment as an opportunity to cut loose on DeSantis.
“There is no reason in the midst of a global pandemic that has seen over 2,300 Floridians perish, over 51,000 sickened and over 1 million Floridians unemployed that this cabinet should not have met since February to consider state business,” she said at the May meeting.
As the state’s top Democrat, she has also used the national media to cast stones at the Governor. In May, prior to the most recent Cabinet meeting, Fried swung away while on MSNBC.
“This is a pattern of deception we’ve seen from the Governor over and over again,” Fried said, saying that she was ‘not surprised’ Rebekah Jones, a former worker for the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, was fired for spotlighting her problems with the process.
Fried also called into question the state’s data on the novel coronavirus.
“People can’t trust the information,” Fried said, saying DeSantis’ approach was “right out of the Donald Trump playbook.”
The next Cabinet meeting is scheduled for June 16.