Democratic lawmakers blast Gov. DeSantis, Republican bills in legislative update
Ron DeSantis. Image via AP.

“I call him hollow man. He has no concern for anyone or anything, except for throwing people under the bus.”

Four Democratic legislators took shots at Gov. Ron DeSantis and a slew of Republican-backed legislation during a legislative update Sunday.

Sens. Audrey Gibson and Bobby Powell, as well as Reps. Dan Daley and Angie Nixon, hosted the meeting on a Zoom call with dozens of local Democratic Party and caucus organizers across the state. 

During his remarks, Powell called DeSantis “Governor Dishonest, the enemy of the people”. He also challenged the governor’s “free state of Florida” messaging, arguing legislation like the elections and anti-abortion bills make Florida less free. 

“When we are talking about the free state of Florida, we have to remember who that freedom is for,” Powel said.

He attacked a Senate panel’s decision to confirm Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo earlier this week after Democrats walked out in protest. Powell said he doubts Republicans will oppose his confirmation, even amid reported feedback from former colleagues concerned about his qualifications, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“It doesn’t matter what their feedback is as long as they check a few boxes,” he said.

He also used the phrase that Florida is the “Land of the free, home of the slave” because he believes legislators on the other side of the aisle are not standing up against bad legislation and confirmations.

Gibson also criticized DeSantis. She said policies he has backed, like ‘anti-woke’ legislation, will harm Black Floridians.

“I call him hollow man. He has no concern for anyone or anything, except for throwing people under the bus,” Gibson said.

She said Democrats need to focus on gaining control of the Senate in the midterms to be able to push back against Republicans. She said they need the organizers on the call to have all hands on deck and avoid factionalism to make that happen. 

“No matter who you support in the primary, we have to come together in the general,” she said.

Daley focused on his concerns about the House redistricting map that passed last week. He took issue that there are the same number of minority-majority seats under the new maps as previous ones, despite Florida’s minority population increasing by 2 million. 

He also pointed out there was little effort to seek constituent feedback on the maps before they were passed. While there were efforts conducted to speak with constituents around the state during the last redistricting, they were put on hold this time around due to COVID-19 concerns.

“They are kinda up to their usual nonsense in Tallahassee,” he said. “My 93-year-old grandmother, who is the love of my life, has figured out how to use Zoom. I bet most Floridians could find a way to hop on a Zoom call.”

He agreed with Gibson that the midterm elections are vital for Florida’s Democrats.

“The only way to stop it is to show up on Election Day and turn the tide,” he said.

Tristan Wood

Tristan Wood graduated from the University of Florida in 2021 with a degree in Journalism. A South Florida native, he has a passion for political and accountability reporting. He previously reported for Fresh Take Florida, a news service that covers the Florida Legislature and state political stories operating out of UF’s College of Journalism and Communications. You can reach Tristan at [email protected], or on Twitter @TristanDWood


  • Antonio

    February 7, 2022 at 8:32 am

    Not one legitimate complaint in this article, just the regular “Desantis/Republicans bad” emotional manipulation attempts. Even worse is the word vomit added to make a news article about something so stupid and obvious as nothing more than editorial bias against one political party. It’s a bad look for a site that is supposed to be an unbiased news source.

  • tom palmer

    February 7, 2022 at 9:15 am

    Other than appointing an incompetent surgeon general, pushing legislation to intimidate election officials and making it harder to vote by mail and helping to rig the reapportionment process, not a legitimate claim to be found.

    • Antonio

      February 7, 2022 at 11:33 am

      To your points:

      1) “appointing an incompetent surgeon general” As you are using insults, it is obvious that is an opinion based purely on his politics, and therefore does not address any substance.

      2) “pushing legislation to intimidate election officials” There is no such legislation. If I am wrong, please provide the bill numbers so we can see what you are talking about.

      3) “making it harder to vote by mail” Absentee voting should only be limited to those that can’t physically be there. Voting is a civic duty, it’s not supposed to be “easy”. What’s next, voting via phone app?

      4) “helping to rig the reapportionment process” By suggesting a redistricting map that favors Republicans? Are you equally upset when Democrats redistrict to favor Democrats?

Comments are closed.


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