Senate panel OK’s Joseph Ladapo nomination after Democrats storm out

FLAPOL092121CH012
Ladapo's confirmation hearing was controversial, as expected.

Senate Democrats on Wednesday stormed out of the first confirmation hearing of Joseph Ladapo after a frustrating back-and-forth between legislators and the Florida Surgeon General appointee of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Ladapo essentially stonewalled Democrats, refusing to answer simple yes or no questions on whether vaccines or masks work. He also seemed unable to answer questions on other health problems in the state, such as whether Hepatitis A remains a problem.

After Democrats left the room, Republicans on the Senate Health Policy Committee quickly voted in favor of confirmation. Eventually, the full Senate will be asked to vote on his appointment as Surgeon General and head of the Florida Department of Health.

Democrats complained to Committee Chair Manny Diaz about Ladapo’s answers, which left members more obfuscated than enlightened. Diaz, who wanted to keep the meeting orderly and running on time, empathized and asked Ladapo “can you try to be more concise.”

Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book asked Ladapo several times whether he believed that vaccines work. But the Harvard-educated physician refused to directly answer the question.

“I consider vaccines in the same way I consider other medical care,” Ladapo said when Book first asked the question. “What we care about clinically is whether they are safe.”

Book asked the question an additional four times before, frustrated with his lengthy indirect answers, she moved onto his position on mask mandates only to get similar vague responses.

Then she moved on to his interaction with Sen. Tina Polsky.

“Do you regret how you treated our colleague?” Book asked Ladapo.

Again, Ladapo refused to directly answer the question.

“I have sympathy for her and for other people who are diagnosed with serious conditions. I think it’s important to recognize that. Despite the politics of our environment, it’s a human thing. I sincerely wish her the very best, her and her family. ” Ladapo said, adding, “I think it’s very important to respect people’s personal preferences. And I think that’s a mutual issue.”

Ladapo in October made an appointment to meet with Polsky in her office. Polsky repeatedly asked Ladapo to put on a mask, telling him she had a serious medical condition. When Ladapo refused, Polsky asked him to leave. Polsky later revealed she had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Florida Politics was the first to report the story, which made national headlines.

Senate President Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican, sided with Polsky in the matter, twice condemning Ladapo for his actions and comments calling them unprofessional.

Democrats returned to the Senate Health Policy Committee after the vote to continue debate on the remainder of the agenda, which included a bill to revamp the state’s mandatory Medicaid managed care program.

Ladapo was picked to lead the Department of Health last fall by DeSantis who was searching for a replacement for Scott Rivkees, the first state surgeon general. The Governor during a Wednesday campaign news conference lauded him as a “superstar” whose positions on COVID-19 had been proven largely correct.

DeSantis also predicted that Ladapo ultimately would be confirmed overwhelmingly by the Senate.

“I think Ladapo is a superstar,” said DeSantis, who contended that many of his observations about how to respond to COVID-19 had been proven true.

“Almost everything that he said has ended up becoming true,” DeSantis said. “It was not popular in certain circles at the time for sure. Do you want someone that is just going to go along with the crowd or do you want someone that’s actually going to look at the data firsthand?”

Meanwhile, Ladapo told reporters after the meeting that his goal was to accurately answer the questions he was asked. He also said that he had no hard feelings for the Democrats who walked out of the committee.

“I certainly wish them well. I have no ill will toward them,” Ladapo told reporters. “And I hope that we can work together on issues of public health relevant to Floridians.”

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


18 comments

  • Impeach Biden

    January 26, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    That’s what whiney Democrats do when they don’t get their way.

    • Maskless Patriot

      January 26, 2022 at 1:45 pm

      Will Ladapo be recommending bleach as a treatment for Covid since monoclonal antibodies are no longer available? I heard that it is a possible medical prevention and treatment of Covid from a reliable source. I hope bleach works against Covid. There are over 800 Publix store in Florida where you can buy affordable bleach. No longer would we need to be concern about the FDA, Biden or Dr. Fraud cutting off a cure for Covid.
      We must forget science in order to save us Patriots from tyranny.

    • zhombre

      January 26, 2022 at 2:29 pm

      In addition to whining, they also compose inane posts like the one on display here. The impotence of Florida Democrats is exceeded only by their sense of superiority and sanctimony.

      • Tjb

        January 27, 2022 at 7:56 am

        Ladapo can not even answer the question if the vaccine is effective with a yes or no answer. We need to find if his education degrees are frauds.

        • zhombre

          January 27, 2022 at 9:20 am

          You can find his CV on-line. I would post a link, but Florida Politics won’t allow it. Why don’t you look at it and start the investigation? Put up or shut up.

          • Tjb

            January 27, 2022 at 10:24 am

            I did look on-line months ago. I have seen his CV and I was mocking his stupidity in his inability to answer relevant and fair questions. I wonder if I do a deep dive investigation on Ladapo … what would I really find.
            Just a reminder how you discredit Dr.Fauci … have you compared Dr. Fauci’s CV against Ladapo’s CV?

          • Tjb

            January 27, 2022 at 10:27 am

            Just a reminder how you discredit Dr.Fauci … have you compared Dr. Fauci’s CV against Ladapo’s CV

          • zhombre

            January 27, 2022 at 11:54 am

            Have you? I do not question Fauci’s credentials. I’m sure they are impeccable. What I question about His Eminence Cardinal Fauci is his bureaucratic arrogance and prevarication.

    • zhombre

      January 26, 2022 at 2:30 pm

      In addition to whining, they also compose inane posts like the one on display here. The impotence of Florida Democrats is exceeded only by their sanctimony.

      • Frankie M.

        January 26, 2022 at 2:57 pm

        Ladapo looked like a soup sandwich trying to answer the vax question. Gave me a flashback to Clinton arguing about the definition of the word “is”…roflmao

      • Tjb

        January 27, 2022 at 12:02 pm

        Just a reminder that Ladapo is DeSantis puppet to perpetuate lies and misinformation about Covid prevention and treatment.

  • Kathy

    January 26, 2022 at 12:47 pm

    Yet, this “doctor”, won’t even believe the manufacturer.
    “The original REGEN-COV antibody cocktail has been administered to millions of people, and we are extremely proud of the critical role this medicine has played during the pandemic. However, it does not work against #Omicron in lab tests, which tells us that unfortunately it is also not going to work in people infected with this variant,” a Regeneron spokesperson said. “According to the CDC, over 99% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are now caused by the Omicron variant, and thus we believe the FDA’s decision to amend the Emergency Use Authorization was appropriate at this time.”

  • Frankie M.

    January 26, 2022 at 2:31 pm

    Not surprising to see a healthcare professional plead the 5th. Ricky Scott has done it dozens of times.

    “Almost everything that he said has ended up becoming true,” DeSantis said. “It was not popular in certain circles at the time for sure. Do you want someone that is just going to go along with the crowd or do you want someone that’s actually going to look at the data firsthand?”

    Does this include the demon sperm conspiracy theory Doctor Ladapo helped promote. And I do use “doctor” loosely.

  • Tony Nelson

    January 27, 2022 at 9:28 am

    Totally understandable from the POV of the Democrats. Just imagine, if you can, the unified and righteous outrage of those elected officials and their constituents which voted them into office at a man blacker than just about anyone they know having the audacity to stray this far off the Democratic Plantation as Ladapo has done. For God’s sake just look at him he’s 1000 times blacker than Messiah Obama. So they righteously stormed out in total disgust. Totally understandable from the leftist in America point of view. Great Scott the man is even blacker than Gillum.

  • Andrew Finn

    January 27, 2022 at 10:25 am

    Now we have this so-called “doctor” and Emperor DeSantis as the comedy team running health in the state of Florida. Reminds one of several others – Laurel and Hardy – Rowan and Martin – Lewis and Martin – and the Smothers Brothers to name a few. The only difference is that all of them would be more qualified !!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ron Ogden

    January 27, 2022 at 11:19 am

    This was no meeting of the AMA, it was just a political exercise in bashing Ron DeSantis. Ladapo did fine. And the Dems, children that they are, picked up their toys and went home.

    • Andrew Finn

      January 27, 2022 at 12:10 pm

      Yeah, enjoying all that “freedom” !!!!!!!!

Comments are closed.


#FlaPol

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jason Delgado, Renzo Downey, Daniel Figueroa, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Kelly Hayes, Joe Henderson, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Andrew Wilson, Mike Wright, and Tristan Wood.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704




Sign up for Sunburn


Categories