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It’s time, Helen

The numbers speak for themselves, but you’re not listening.

Editor’s note: Not even ten minutes after we published this column, senior sources said Helen Aguirre Ferré was expected to exit the Governor’s office to become executive director of the Republican Party of Florida. 

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Helen, you’re not going to want to hear this, but it’s time for you to go.

It’s no secret that when things aren’t falling into place, someone has to be held accountable and it’s never going to be the guy or the gal at the top.

We saw that with Brad Parscale’s fall from grace and his ultimate demotion within the Trump campaign.

Our Governor, Helen Aguirre Ferré, is in turmoil.

We said it two months ago, DeSantis is winning the pandemic battle, but losing the perception war.

The former is probably, and sadly, not really true any more, but the latter has never been more true.

It’s not your fault, of course. It’s clear the Governor keeps his own counsel.

But it’s your job to manage the message and the message is failing in spectacular fashion.

Your war with the press is well-documented, but it’s not doing you any favors.

Remember in May when you shamed the Orlando Sentinel for its “alarmist headline” about a model predicting 3,971 COVID-19 deaths by Aug. 4? POLITICO reporter Marc Caputo does, and he wasn’t quiet about reminding you.

That model predicted nearly 4,000 deaths by Aug. 4. It’s mid-July and the death toll is already higher.

As Caputo put it, “not so alarmist” now, is it?

I get it, you didn’t have a crystal ball and couldn’t have seen this massive spike coming, but here it is and the administration is still projecting sunshine and rainbows as if more than 100 people aren’t dying per day in recent days.

Had you been a bit less prickly, perhaps your words might have aged better.

So again, it’s time Helen.

Time for you to get out of the way and stop OK-ing crap messaging like this atrocious campaign-style video glorifying the Governor’s response to the virus instead of producing a video that might actually do something to solve it. Something that might, you know, encourage people to wear masks, instead of showing footage of someone pandering while wearing a mask all wrong (it’s supposed to cover the nose too, Mayor Gilbert.)

Time for you to stop tweeting things like “deaths also decreased to 93” as if that’s a point of pride, or that “Florida has tested more than 2.4 million people.” Come on, Helen. You know that number is total tests, not those who have received them. So no, not “one out o 9” individuals.

Maybe instead of constantly downplaying a terrifying pandemic that is ransacking the state, you could have adjusted your messaging to reflect action, not toddler-style excuses about how it’s just the big, bad media causing a panic.

You know what’s causing a panic? It’s people dying. It’s people clogging hospital wards. It’s the positivity rate that, despite your attempts to say otherwise, are still dangerously high.

I’m sorry, Helen, it’s time.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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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, Drew Dixon, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson, and Kelly Hayes.
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