Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried hit back Friday at Gov. Ron DeSantis after he opened fire on her for the first time since she jumped into the gubernatorial race.
In response to a question from Florida Politics’ Scott Powers during a stop in Central Florida, DeSantis said Fried has done nothing in office besides “emote on social media, virtue signal to small dollar donors in California and New York.”
“She’s a lockdown lobbyist. She would have had our kids locked out of school for the entire year. She would have had this business shuttered for the whole year. They would be out of business if Fried were Governor,” the Governor added, referring to the restaurant where he decided to sign this year’s budget.
On “The Florida Roundup” on NPR, Fried called DeSantis’ extensive reply a “Tucker tantrum,” an allusion to Fox News conservative pundit Tucker Carlson. She also drew a parallel between him and former President Donald Trump, of whom the Governor has been an ally.
“Obviously, I’m doing something right that I’m getting underneath the skin that he needs to lodge nicknames for me — that sounds like his predecessor, his boss, the last President,” Fried said. “I think that that’s just disingenuous and he knows better. He knows that my record absolutely stands up for itself, that I have lived up to every single one of the promises that I made to the people of our state.”
She has taken action, she insisted, pointing to reduced wait times for firearm background checks, expanding the hemp industry and taking on the Trump White House over the the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.
“This is a Governor who is trying to rewrite history to his own narrative by spewing misinformation,” Fried said. “But I am not surprised that this is the tactics that this Governor is doing, because he knows a one-on-one policy debate with me, he will lose.”
Fried’s comments were expanded thoughts from a message she tweeted soon after DeSantis offered his unvarnished view of Fried, who he serves on the Florida Cabinet.
“I think we struck a nerve with (DeSantis). Temper tantrums are for toddlers, not Governors,” she said.
But before Fried can challenge the Governor, she must first take on U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, the current frontrunner in the Democratic primary. He won the 2006 gubernatorial race as a Republican, but left the party mid-term and hasn’t won a statewide race since.
However, the same year DeSantis was narrowly elected Governor, Fried was elected Agriculture Commissioner, a role held by Republicans since 2001.
“This unknown commodity from Miami was able to win the hearts and minds of people across the entire state, not just Democrats, but independents and Republicans” on a bipartisan message, she said.
“Yes, people know Charlie. The state of our Florida wants something new, wants something different. And the only way to get that accomplished is by breaking the system and voting and supporting the mission that we have.”