Nikki Fried to work with White House to sidestep Ron DeSantis’ mask-optional school policy

Fried questions whether DeSantis' order is even constitutional.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said she’s working with the White House to thwart Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s threat to defund schools that require masks.

In the wake of what Fried called “the absence of leadership from this Governor” the Democrat and 2022 gubernatorial candidate has been holding daily COVID-19 briefings.

Speaking to reporters at Thursday’s briefing, Fried had a message for Florida’s mask-friendly school districts: “We’ve got your back.”

Fried said her office is in active discussions with the White House COVID-19 Task Force and school district leaders to either challenge or sidestep DeSantis’ recent executive order that prohibits schools from requiring masks and threatens to defund school districts that defy his order.

“We’re going to be working with the White House as far as if there’s other additional resources that can come down from the federal government to support them,” Fried said.

Fried said she thinks there are constitutional issues with DeSantis’ order and if a constitutional challenge doesn’t work or doesn’t work fast enough, the federal government could pick up the tab for penalized school districts.

“If this Governor does what he’s threatening to do, and pulls back money from them if they make the right decision for their communities, first of all, I don’t know if that’s even constitutional. And, second of all, (we are) working with the White House to see if there might be additional resources from Washington, D.C.,” Fried said.

Most federal funding has to be appropriated by the Legislature and the Governor, but Fried said she’s talking to the White House about other avenues of funding that don’t require that approval.

“Well, if it comes from the federal government there might be ways around that, that it can go directly (to school districts),” Fried said, adding, “We’re looking into it.”

The move could affect at least eight school districts in Florida that, as of this publication, are either requiring masks or considering mask requirements. Most of those school districts are in Florida’s largest metropolitan areas.

Fried also said her office is talking to the White House about other potential COVID-19 resources to battle Florida’s latest surge. For the last four days in a row Florida has broken its record for the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the pandemic started, and COVID-19 infections in Florida account for one-quarter of the nations COVID-19 cases.

“I’m not too proud to admit what the Governor won’t. We need help here in the state of Florida,” Fried said.

Fried’s willingness to lean on the White House for resources for Florida’s COVID-19 surge is in stark contrast to DeSantis, who on Wednesday said he didn’t “want to hear a blip about COVID” from President Joe Biden.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown covers state government for Previously, Haley covered the West Virginia Legislature and anchored weekend newscasts for WVVA in Bluefield, W.Va. Haley is a Florida native and a graduate of the University of Florida. You can reach her at [email protected].


  • ComradeNikki

    August 5, 2021 at 11:42 am

    She is despicable. The pretend outrage and concern makes me want to puke. They have no desire to do anything other than harm their political opponents. Nikki shouldn’t be in charge of a hot dog stand, yet along a state cabinet position. Incompetent is an understatement.

    • ICU Nurse

      August 5, 2021 at 12:08 pm

      Pretend outrage and concern. You mean like the pretend increase in COVID patients and death. Makes me wanna puke to listen to you ignorant deniers. To S******d to understand the science. To muleheaded to care about others. Get COVID and join the many I have had to bag and tag over the last year in ICU. I have lost all compassion for any of you anti-vaxxers. Just do the world a favor and go meet your Jeebus.

      • Matthew Lusk

        August 5, 2021 at 12:41 pm

        I think you lie much.

        • zhombre

          August 5, 2021 at 5:23 pm

          I think she seems nice.

      • Ron Ogden

        August 5, 2021 at 8:26 pm

        It’s nice to know we’re all helping you to be happy in your work.

      • Marion Pitts

        August 5, 2021 at 8:58 pm

        Thank you and very well said. If people don’t get rid of De Santis, Fl is in trouble. And as for a Presidential candidate, I hope people see through his mountain of lies. COVID is real and people are dying. Hello Governor DeSantis- Florida needs a mask mandate. I’m not voting for you again.

        • Andrew Finn

          August 6, 2021 at 9:28 pm

          You got that right Marion. I am a life-long Republican voter, in local, state, and national elections for decades. In 2022 I will vote for anybody, and I mean ANYBODY who runs against Emperor DeSantis. He can’t be gone soon enough.

          • Gail

            August 8, 2021 at 6:40 pm

            Thank God for sane people in Florida. Our prayers are with you

    • Bram

      August 5, 2021 at 1:01 pm

      DeSantis is doing a fine job of harming himself without Nikki or the Democrats. His supporters just haven’t figured that out yet. His “Don’t Fauci my Florida” campaign was a rousing success as the past week of sickness has shown. What needs to be done is to persuade a substantial segment of the public that to “Fauci Florida” is actually a good thing for the state not bad. Only then will they realize the harm Ron is doing to himself. Unfortunately it may take few more record breaking days to get DeSantis supporters to understand this.

    • Barbara

      August 5, 2021 at 3:02 pm

      Maybe you should take a few deep breaths and calm down. Your hate is showing 😮

    • David Quintana

      August 6, 2021 at 10:10 am

      You’re a fkin idiot!

  • Matthew Lusk

    August 5, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Fund parents directly, not schools, and the schools will improve exponentially. Parents want a quality education. Teachers don’t want mandates and forced curriculum. Different strokes for different folks. Make school cool again.

  • Ron Ogden

    August 5, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    Nikki Fried: The Colonel Klebb of Florida politics. if you don’t know the reference (probably most of you), ask. It is quite apt. There is even a resemblance.

    • Bram

      August 5, 2021 at 1:14 pm

      Oh, was Lotte Lenya. your mother?

      • Ron Ogden

        August 5, 2021 at 1:23 pm


    • Andrew Finn

      August 5, 2021 at 3:15 pm

      Colonel Klebb yes – with maybe a little Colonel Klink included. Where is 007 when you need him ??

      • Ron Ogden

        August 5, 2021 at 8:24 pm

        Let’s chip in and buy Nikki a monocle and a riding crop and a shoe with a poisoned stiletto. She’ll be equipped for her mission in life.

    • tjb

      August 8, 2021 at 8:29 am

      Do you think DeSantis campaign slogan will be:
      “Vote for me and I will send your children home from school in a box”

  • Bram

    August 5, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    Your grandmother, then?

  • A Stray Vulcan

    August 5, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    How does an Agriculture Commissioner have this fall in their jurisdiction? How can the CDC legislate evictions? How can every other country on earth have actual immigration rules they follow?
    It is illogical.

  • john wright

    August 8, 2021 at 10:40 am

    Nikki Freid states “in stark contrast to DeSantis, who on Wednesday said he didn’t “want to hear a blip about COVID” from President Joe Biden”
    Gov.DeSantis said Biden should close the borders to infected illegals before dissing any American.

  • Robert

    August 8, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    Nikki Fried Facilitates the Biden Administration in Depositing Illegal Aliens Throughout the state of Florida. She is the #1 Reason the Virus is spreading badly!

  • DD

    August 9, 2021 at 5:21 pm

    May be if we are lucky all the dead will be desantis reporters. Disgusting people . Selfish uncaring people. And the children will pay for it.

  • Jeffrey Abbott

    August 10, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    Along with the huge issue of using kids as political pawns on both sides, there’s also the issue of the state credit rating getting whacked if they don’t pay their school board obligations like salaries and other things.

Comments are closed.


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