State Republican Executive Director Helen Aguirre Ferré returned fire at the state’s top Democrat, charging that Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried was ill-informed and irresponsible in her latest letter complaining about Florida’s COVID-19 responses.
“Either the Commissioner is asleep at the switch or she is intentionally sharing misinformation,” Ferré charged in a statement released late Wednesday by the Republican Party of Florida.
She was referring to the letter Fried sent Wednesday to Gov. Ron DeSantis. Fried urged DeSantis to mobilize more National Guard resources to expedite Florida’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Fried also criticized — as she has all year — the administration’ broader COVID-19 efforts and particularly Florida’s current vaccine distribution, citing media reports describing it as “very chaotic” and without a “clear strategy.”
Ferré picked at Fried’s choices of figures and words, essentially charging that Fried doesn’t know what she’s talking about or is just making politically-motivated false claims. The RPOF executive director explicitly accused Fried of “egregious lies” and offered corrections. Among them:
— “Commissioner Fried incorrectly states that Florida has received over 1.2 million doses of the vaccine. However, this number includes projected vaccine deliveries in the future and is not the actual number of doses that have been sent to Florida.”
— “In a letter dated December 30th, Commissioner Fried cites that yesterday the state had a 22.75% positivity rate, when in fact the positivity rate was 8.72%. Commissioner Fried is intentionally citing an obvious data outlier from December 28th.”
— “Commissioner Fried’s insinuation that the Governor is not properly utilizing the Florida National Guard is ridiculous. In fact, the Governor mobilized the Florida National Guard weeks ago to form strike teams with the Florida Department of Health to begin vaccinating residents of long-term care facilities.”
“Since day one, all Commissioner Fried has done is politicized the pandemic,” Ferré charged in a news release issued by the party. “If Commissioner Fried actually cared about what is happening, she would take a lesson on leadership from Governor DeSantis to help unify and coordinate resources to achieve results for Floridians. She is clearly only interested in being a partisan hack — Floridians deserve better.”