Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried slammed Republican National Convention speakers for talking about the COVID-19 crisis in the past tense.
“If you watched the RNC Convention last night, you may have thought that the COVID-19 pandemic is over. It’s not,” Fried tweeted.
She also took a swipe at Gov. Ron DeSantis, signaling that rivalry won’t let up any time soon.
“Nearly 5,000 Floridians have died in the last month alone because of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ and Donald Trump’s disastrous policies,” she wrote.
— Nikki Fried (@nikkifried) August 26, 2020
There has been wide criticism, particularly in progressive media, about speakers at the Republican convention referring to the pandemic as over.
A Tuesday speech by Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow has drawn particularly scathing reviews.
“Health and economic impacts were tragic. Hardship and heartbreak were everywhere,” Kudlow said. “But presidential leadership came swiftly and effectively with an extraordinary rescue for health and safety to successfully fight the COVID virus.”
That prompted a series of critical headlines, in Vox (“The RNC keeps referring to Covid-19 in the past tense. 1,147 American deaths were reported Tuesday”), Rolling Stone (“Trump adviser refers to pandemic in past tense on same day COVID kills 1,147 people”), The Atlantic (“Remember the pandemic?”) and others.
The speech came on the same day 184 Floridians were confirmed to have died after testing positive for COVID-19.
Fried and DeSantis have been at odds over Florida’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic for months. Earlier this month, the Agriculture Commissioner unrolled a public information campaign that appeared independent and in direct competition with DeSantis. It included urging citizens to wear masks even while DeSantis has resisted calls for a mask mandate.
Fried is the only Democrat now holding statewide office in Florida and a rumored candidate for Governor challenging DeSantis in 2018. She was among 17 keynote speakers at the Democratic National Convention last week.