Anyone in Miami who would have liked to have known in advance that Gov. Ron DeSantis would be in town Tuesday morning to visit the Surfside condo disaster site and meet with survivors would have been disappointed.
Aides didn’t release the schedule until 6:27 p.m., hours after his appearances, which began at about 9 a.m.
The same thing happened Monday, when DeSantis planned a 12:30 p.m. roundtable discussion about mask mandates in Florida schools. DeSantis’ office didn’t release his daily schedule until 9:20 p.m. and didn’t invite news reporters who might have reported about the mask event.
The Florida Channel wasn’t there to broadcast the proceedings, as is routine for government business. And no pesky reporter was around to ask the Governor about, say, the recent uptick in COVID infections.
Even on Wednesday, when the Governor’s office gave advance notice of a news conference in Santa Rosa County, DeSantis announced plans to reduce bridge tolls and then high-tailed it in his SUV without taking questions from reporters about matters of public concern.
The Phoenix could find no news coverage of the Surfside visit, but that was the plan, according to DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw.
“The Governor went to Surfside for private meetings with several survivors of the condo collapse as well as some families who lost their loved ones. He is trying to help them in any way possible. All the family meetings are private though, which is why there has not been media coverage,” she said.
And on Tuesday, as reporters scrambled to catch up on the mask talks of the day before, Pushaw said they weren’t intended as a media event — just a discussion between the Governor and experts and stakeholders.
“We recorded the entire roundtable discussion to post on Rumble so it’s accessible to media and the general public. We generally use Rumble for public videos these days, after experiencing censorship from YouTube several months ago,” Pushaw said via email.
Taryn Fenske, who, as communications director, prepares the daily schedule has not yet replied to a request for comment about the timing of their release.
But lack of notice to the press — intermediaries for the taxpayers the Governor works for — has been a persistent problem for the DeSantis administration. Indeed, for the preceding Rick Scott administration, as well, and as far back as the Jeb Bush administration. The Phoenix has reported about the situation as long ago as May 2020.
Democrats have also gotten dinged for being less than transparent about their whereabouts — Democrat Lawton Chiles was known for slipping away unannounced to go hunting.
The stakes have risen as DeSantis elevates his national profile through trips out of state to raise money for reelection and a possible presidential run. In June, for example, he attended fundraisers in Los Angeles, Irvine, Manhattan Beach, and San Diego, California, as well as in Las Vegas, as POLITICO reported. The Governor’s daily schedule listed none of these events.
In the more distant past, Governors’ offices were scrupulous about posting their schedules in plenty of time for the press to question visitors arriving in their antechambers for meetings with the Governor, or as they left. Florida is famous for its open records and meeting laws, after all.
These are public records that the administration is legally obliged to hand over, even if too late to be of much use, as Barbara Petersen, then-executive director of the Florida First Amendment Foundation, said in that earlier Phoenix report.
“He’s got an attitude about open government and he’s got an attitude about the press,” she said of DeSantis. “And they’re not good attitudes, to my way of thinking. But the law’s the law. And if he’s not in violation of the law, there’s not much you can do about it.”
Consider last week: From July 19 through July 23, the schedule appeared at 4:46 p.m., 5:37 p.m., 9:25 p.m., 5:54 p.m., and 3:01 p.m.
That last date’s schedule served notice that the Governor had attended the National Association of Police Organizations convention in Fort Lauderdale at 10 that morning — but there had been no advance notification.
Looking ahead, we know that DeSantis plans to address the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, this week in Salt Lake City only because that organization — which brings state legislators together with corporate lobbyists to draft model legislation — made the announcement.
It wasn’t clear whether he planned to appear in person or via remote video link.
DeSantis press secretary Pushaw said she couldn’t confirm the Governor’s plans for the conference. “If he is attending ALEC it would not be an official event, so on the state side, we don’t have visibility on that,” she said via email.
She suggesting contacting the Republican Party of Florida, where a spokeswoman said she had no information to share.
Via Michael Moline of Florida Phoenix. Republished with permission.
Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news outlets supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected] Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.
July 29, 2021 at 9:25 am
Waldo for governor.
July 29, 2021 at 9:26 am
In the future, the press will please address the Guv as His Royal Majesty, or HRM.
August 1, 2021 at 11:09 am
Only you should Hoffmann.
Respect from you is necessary.
July 29, 2021 at 10:45 am
“. . .But lack of notice to the press — intermediaries for the taxpayers the Governor works for —” Hah! If there is any subclass of individuals with a greater sense of self-worth, entitlement, well-deserved privilege or sheer chutzpah than the “press”, and the Florida Phoenix in particular, please point them out. Otherwise, this execrable blog is going to have to be the singular butt of the kind of satirical scorn that Americans traditionally have reserved for the people who plump and preen themselves in print–or what passes for print these days–the glorified, sanctified, censorious media!
July 29, 2021 at 1:39 pm
A persistent problem for the press but not a problem for the governor.
July 29, 2021 at 4:31 pm
It’s no mystery where the governor is. Just stop by Fox News studios.
August 1, 2021 at 11:07 am
Shocking Palmer, Fraud says she’s not for lockdowns and runs add on Fox. LMAO. Total conversion, hypocrite, and fraud meltdown. Again, nothing to offer.
July 29, 2021 at 4:58 pm
Charlie Crist 4 Governor
July 29, 2021 at 7:23 pm
Shocking, Liberal scream in play.
DeSantis hate continues, shocking.
Haters added a new one.
As a general rule the Govs official schedule should be made public. Of course the Manchurians will try to invade and make a scene as they have attempted before.
It always helps to engage the media in a constructive manner as he has done.
He can do continue that accordingly.
July 30, 2021 at 7:28 am
He avoids the press because he has nothing of substance to say about any issue. He runs around the country whining about masks while FL hospitals fill up with Covid patients. His inability to analyze and address problems with any degree of intelligence, truthfulness, or compassion is appalling and exhausting. Time for FL to move on.
July 30, 2021 at 1:45 pm
Lol. Hide Duffus Desantis! You are willingly slaughtering Floridians!
July 30, 2021 at 3:31 pm
Beth and Sonya you are both In need of help.
Really leftists. Gov Ron wins big! No contest.
July 30, 2021 at 4:10 pm
Omg. News flash Duffus Desantis has hired a new pr woman. Is that what you’re doing? Lol.
July 30, 2021 at 4:15 pm
Too bad DeSantis (aka “Ron The Jackass”) doesn’t disappear for good !! I can’t wait to vote for anybody who runs against that idiot, and I mean anybody !! Man, I sure miss Claude Kirk !!
August 1, 2021 at 11:04 am
Claude please ask your asst to stop sending, we miss Claude messages. No one does. Also, rude mean words don’t become you.
Enjoy the farm.
July 30, 2021 at 5:52 pm
How many morons can you guys have.
Idiot Red Sonja, Beth and Andrew.
What’s your alternative Nikki Fraud? LMAO.
Please. Governor Ron is America’s Governor.
July 31, 2021 at 7:39 pm
FINALLY A RON DESANTIS SUCCESS STORY FLORIDA TRUMPSTERS CAN BE PROUD OF……
Ronny and Disinfectant Donnie were observed trying to determine how many empty hospital beds that are left in Florida.
August 1, 2021 at 9:56 am
Pathetic but what’s new from a libtard.
Dr. Villy Boombotz
August 1, 2021 at 10:19 am
You always resort to calling people names. Sounds like you have Little Pecker Syndrome.
August 1, 2021 at 11:17 am
What’s up doc? LMAO, Not what they say at all bout me. Typical trash from tard. But you don’t apparently have one at all. Another tard engaging in liberal bubble scream and can’t deal with it.
What is your alternative to a 100 year pandemic, Oh great Doc? You and your tards have none. Just liberal scream. Fraud says she’s against lockdowns, DeSantis wins, she’s admitted defeat. Your just an idiot.
Saint Frances of Clearwater
August 1, 2021 at 4:50 pm
It’s you’re, not your.
August 1, 2021 at 5:35 pm
Saint Francis of Emily Post!
It’s not the mixed spelling or incorrect verbiage but the message of meaning.
I know you are just a perfect elite and never made an error, ever. Just like the liberal Dems. They are prefect even though we have millions of illegals crossing over with COVID amazingly but so concerned bout Florida. How bout all the suicide cases by lockdowns and schools being closed. And of course the crime of young teenagers in the cities cause of no school or work. Spare me.
Comments are closed.