Suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren released a video Sunday morning vowing to fight his removal from office and what he calls Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ attempt to “overthrow democracy.”
Warren, who was elected to his position once in 2016 and again in 2020, was suspended from office Thursday and a new State Attorney installed in his place. DeSantis said Warren had put himself above the law by saying he would not prosecute certain crimes.
But it’s DeSantis who has put himself above the law, Warren’s statement said.
“His plot to suspend me blatantly violates the most fundamental basis of our democracy — your vote,” Warren says in the video that was posted shortly after 9 a.m. on Sunday to his Twitter and Facebook accounts. “He is trying to overturn the results of a fair and free election and abusing his power to serve his own political ambition.”
The Governor’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the video Sunday morning.
Together, we will fight Ron DeSantis' abuse of power and restore the will of the voters. I hope you'll join me.
— Andrew Warren (@AndrewWarrenFL) August 7, 2022
At Thursday’s news conference, however, DeSantis said he was suspending Warren from office because of his signature on a pledge not to prosecute women for seeking abortions and statements about not prosecuting laws that prohibit gender-affirming care for minors. Also, DeSantis was surrounded by law enforcement officials who had beefs about crimes Warren’s office hadn’t prosecuted.
“When you flagrantly violate your oath of office, when you make yourself above the law, you have violated your duty,” DeSantis said at Thursday’s event. “You have neglected your duty and you are displaying a lack of competence to be able to perform those duties.”
Warren has been making the rounds on national media, appearing on MSNBC news shows, The Reid Out with Joy Reid and American Voices with Alicia Menendez. Warren’s Sunday statement noted that a Judge had already found the abortion ban violated the Florida constitution and that no law prohibits minors from receiving gender-affirming care.
“He came down to Tampa — to Hillsborough County — to illegally remove me as part of some political circus,” Warren says in the video. “He did it because he wants to throw women and their doctors in jail based on a law that has already been found to violate Florida’s Constitution. He did it because he wants to enforce a law that discriminates against our LGBTQ community — a law that, at this point, doesn’t even exist.”
Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper found last month that the ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy violates the Florida Constitution’s right to privacy. The ruling is currently under appeal.
Warren is asking voters to support his fight.
“I hope you’ll stand with me,” Warren adds.
The video shows Warren standing in front of the pictures of his family, a steady one-camera shot. Safer Stronger Florida, a St. Petersburg-based political committee, paid for the statement. John T. Fox of Tampa, who is a political consultant, chairs the committee.
Warren’s Twitter bio still shows him as “State Attorney for Hillsborough County, FL (Tampa).” Christina Pushaw, the Governor’s spokeswoman, noted that Warren can no longer get into his office because his badge doesn’t work anymore.
“This is delusional,” she responded to him on Twitter Friday.
Most of the elected officials that DeSantis suspended previously simply left office and had been replaced. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel is an exception, however. After DeSantis suspended him, citing his response to the state’s worst school shooting, Israel went to the Florida Senate. But the Senate upheld DeSantis’ suspension of Israel and Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony was picked to take the post.
Warren noted in a news release accompanying his recorded statement that he did not have time to read the Governor’s order removing him, nor address his 300-member staff before an armed deputy escorted him from his office.
“Let me be clear: I’m not going down without a fight,” Warren said. “I’m a former federal prosecutor, the duly elected State Attorney, a native Floridian, and a proud American. I refuse to let this man trample on your freedoms to speak your mind, to make your own health care decisions, and to have your vote count.”
Warren is currently assembling a legal team to mount a “vigorous defense of his office and democracy,” the release says. Announcements about it will be forthcoming.