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Francis Rooney was the first in the delegation to vote remotely.


Francis Rooney: ‘No doubt’ Joe Biden has the better coronavirus approach

Coincidentally, he’s not sharing a ballot in November with President Donald Trump.

One outgoing Republican Congressman favors Joe Biden’s pandemic response plan to that of President Donald Trump.

Rep. Francis Rooney, a Naples Republican, told Spectrum News he has more faith in the Democrat’s plan on the COVID-19 front.

“There’s no doubt Vice President Biden has the better approach,” he told reporter Samantha-Jo Roth.

It’s not the first time Rooney broke ranks with the President. He was among the more aggressive Republican members in pushing to investigate Trump and his personal representatives for investigating Hunter Biden and Burisma interactions with the Ukraine.

That episode ultimately led to articles of impeachment against Trump. Rooney ultimately voted against that action, but was the last Republican in the House to go on record saying he would vote against impeachment.

Rooney was also among the few Republican members to oppose Trump declaring a national emergency in order to redirect funding toward border security.

He’s also been on the opposite side of the Trump administration on issues surrounding coal mining and oil exploration.

Rooney won election to the House simultaneously with Trump, winning his seat in 2016 in a deep red district. He was also one of the main speakers at a Trump rally in 2018, when the President came to town to rally support in Republican-rich Southwest Florida for now-Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Rick Scott.

But suggesting the Democratic candidate for President may do a better job on pandemic response than Trump, 15 days before the Presidential election, shows a continued willingness to buck the Commander-in-Chief.

Earlier this year, Rooney became the first Republican Congressman to cast votes by proxy in the House, utilizing a system set up by Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi to limit member exposure to the coronavirus.

Rooney is one of the only Republicans holding federal office in Florida this year who will not share a ballot with the President in a couple weeks. He announced last year he would not seek a third term representing Florida’s 19th Congressional District.

Instead, state lawmaker Byron Donalds won an August primary and is favored against Democrat Cindy Banyai in November.

Donalds, notably, recently contracted COVID-19.

Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at

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