The drama on the Plaza Level of the Florida Capitol continues to percolate even on a college football Saturday.
In a series of tweets Saturday evening, the state’s Democratic Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a series of blistering attacks on the Republican governor.
Painting Gov. Ron DeSantis as “following orders” from President Donald Trump, Commissioner Nikki Fried lobbed a series of criticisms certainly consistent with someone “looking into” a run for the Governor’s Office in 2022.
The critiques, viewed as a set, offer a refresher on a series of indictments of DeSantis’ leadership style through the pandemic, a period in which there has been scant coordination between his office and Fried’s.
“Crisis defines character — throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen [DeSantis’] character revealed. Opposing a mask order, misleading the public, and ignoring science — his message to Floridians is clear: [Trump’s] campaign is more important than your health and safety.”
DeSantis, Fried charged, “demonstrates consistently that he has no plan, he’s following Donald Trump’s plan, and we all know what that means. During difficult times, he pushes hard decisions to local leaders, unless he doesn’t like their decision. He shows them no respect.”
Fried alluded to the Governor’s sidelining of Surgeon General Scott Rivkees when his messaging proved problematic this spring.
DeSantis, asserted Fried, “has ignored and silenced scientific voices — having Florida’s Surgeon General removed from a press conference for speaking truthfully about the length of this pandemic. He’s shown that for him, politics comes before science — and before public health.”
The proposed legislation to crack down on protests, expected to be a Republican priority in the Special Session, also earned new excoriation as a distraction from Republican policy failures.
“And as the president tries to distract from all of the lives lost under his utterly incompetent management of the pandemic, [DeSantis] is following orders — he’s announced priority legislation, not to address #COVID19, but to arrest people protesting for equality.”
Additionally, Fried castigated the decision to move Florida into Phase 3 reopening, offering a dire prediction: “Tragically, this return to normal life will only cause a loss of life — to a much greater magnitude.”
But DeSantis isn’t so concerned, she suggests: “As long as he remains in good graces with the president, all is well — and for him, that’s all that matters.”
What’s clear if it wasn’t already is that the ongoing one-sided war of words between Fried and DeSantis will extend past the election and the recount into and through the 2021 Legislative Session.