Senate Democrats called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to issue an apology Monday for his latest comments alleging that Hispanic farmworkers are to blame for the rise of COVID-19 cases in Florida.
Last week during a press conference, DeSantis said the source of many of the new COVID-19 cases were from “overwhelmingly Hispanic farmworkers and day laborers,” adding:“Some of these guys go to work in a school bus, and they are all just packed there like sardines, going across Palm Beach County or some of these other places, and there’s all these opportunities to have transmission”.
Senate Democrats chastised the Governor’s remarks in a collective letter addressed to him.
“These statements could be characterized as either misinformed insensitive statements or shameful scapegoating of an entire ethnic community, but either way are offensive and inappropriate comments from our State’s Chief Executive,” the letter said.
The letter went on to ask DeSantis for a public apology to Florida’s Hispanic community.
“On behalf of the nearly five million Hispanics living in Florida, we ask you to rescind and publicly apologize for the hurtful and inaccurate comments you made last week,” the letter added.
The letter also recognized the contributions made by Hispanic workers in Florida’s agriculture industry.
“Hispanic farmworkers are the backbone of the agricultural industry in Florida, ensuring the availability of high quality, low cost food products for sale and distribution both domestically and internationally,” the letter continued. “The contribution of these workers, along with those working in the construction and building trades, generate billions of dollars of economic activity annually for our State.”
Senate Democrats called on DeSantis to accept responsibility for the health, safety and wellness of Florida residents.
“During this pandemic we ask you to refrain from blaming poor results on those who most need the state’s assistance right now and urge you to take the better approach, which is to accept responsibility for policies and decisions that have led to the increased public health crisis in our state and the failures of the State’s unemployment system,” the letter said. “In short, as the Chief Executive of this state the buck stops with you when it comes to managing the health, safety and welfare for Florida’s residents.”