Republicans call Nikki Fried’s COVID letter ‘ill-informed, irresponsible’
Helen Aguirre Ferré and Nikki Fried.

Helen Aguirre Ferre and Nikki Fried
Helen Aguirre Ferré comes to Gov. Ron DeSantis's defense.

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.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]


  • TC

    December 31, 2020 at 10:17 am

    So what happened to the strike teams when the vaccine was rolled out? My 98-year old father lives in an ALF; still no vaccination. Why? The vaccines were (1) distributed by Walgreens, not the National Guard, and (2) the number of shots were inadequate for the nursing home/ALF population because DeSantis has diverted shots to county health departments for the 65 and older crowd. When I sat the line for three hours Tuesday (I was lucky), no National Guard was involved helping the distribution, just overworked health care folks doing the best they can. The counties are doing their best with the current situation, but they can’t create the vaccine. Someone who knew how to scale up distribution systems and had the personnel (ie, use of National Guard) could certainly fix the “flow,” but the flow is being “throttled” because Florida doesn’t have the supplies yet. But of course, all the bars and restaurants will be open tonight throughout Florida. The point is that you can’t intentionally skew the numbers, leave everything open, take away local government’s ability to require public safety protections, proclaim that the over 65s can get vaccinated, and keep inviting all those out of state visitors when you know you have inadequate supplies. It’s like watching an argument over counting the Titanic’s lifeboats after you increased speed in iceberg-infested waters.

  • Ron Ogden

    December 31, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    Skew the numbers? Last week, the British army administered 15,000 CoVid tests to European truck drivers parked on an airport awaiting the opening of the French border. They got a positivity rate of about ONE QUARTER OF ONE PERCENT. What sort of explanation is more likely: that living on the Danube and the Rhone conveys some secret immunity, or that the numbers our government is giving out and the media are repeating every day are BOGUS?

  • Ocean Joe

    December 31, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    How is Nikki Fried expected to know everything about the state response when you refuse to hold cabinet meetings just to exclude her.

  • EMC

    December 31, 2020 at 1:36 pm

    to mr. ogden, the same government testing found one in 85 in England to be positive — hence the border backup. is their government lying too? are they lying about their people, but not the truckers? if the answer to every dispute is, ‘they’re lying’ then you must prove it, or all discussion ends as well as all civility.

Comments are closed.


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