Florida Democrats Blast ‘MIA’ Governor Ron DeSantis As Covid Cases Rise

Governor Ron DeSantis has disappeared into action as Covid cases in the state have risen to new heights, Florida Democratic officials say.

“Counties are overwhelmed with lines that stretch for miles,” said Senator Shevrin Jones, a Democrat. tweeted Thursday. “It’s every man / woman for himself because leadership is MIA,” he added.

DeSantis, a Republican and outspoken opponent of vaccine and mask mandates, last held a Covid press briefing on December 17th. Covid cases have reached new heights in Florida since then, including a record high of more than 58,000 new cases on Wednesday.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His Press Secretary, Christina Pushaw, tweeted Thursday that the governor has “a wife and 3 children aged 1-5 years and it is not surprising if he wants to take a few days off at Christmas to spend time with his family, especially since his wife is battling cancer “I do not criticize (President Joe) Biden for going to Rehoboth Beach all week, do I?”

Pushaw pointed out some of his daily schedule from Tuesday, which showed he had scheduled meetings at the Florida Capitol with government officials.

In a news conference Tuesday, Jerry Demings, the Democratic mayor of Orange County, called on the governor to step up his efforts because the omicron rise has resulted in people standing in line for as long as five hours to be tested.

“We have not received any assistance from the State of Florida at our test sites,” Demings said. “Local governments have been left to figure it out and respond to our own. We are doing our best.”

“He signed on to legislation that effectively barred local governments from being able to take responsibility and lead our fight against Covid-19,” Demings said.

“Our residents, all residents of Florida should be outraged and they should ask the question, now where is our state? Where is our governor? Where is Ron DeSantis now? When was the last time you saw the governor do a press briefing on Covid- 19? ” asked Demings.

Following Deming’s complaints, DeSantis’ Twitter account tweeted one picture of him in a candy store in Chipley. DeSantis’ office told MSNBC that the sweet store visit actually took place on December 16th.

State Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said Wednesday she had “no idea” where DeSantis was.

Fried, who is running for governor as a Democrat, told MSNBC that DeSantis “canceled our cabinet meeting in mid-December” and “I have not seen him since Dec. 17. I do not know where he is.”

“Local counties and state commissioners have to stand up for test sites,” she said. “We have five-hour lines in Miami-Dade County, and he’s nowhere to be found.”

In his Twitter feed, Pushaw blamed the White House for the long test lines. “As for testing, ask Biden, who is on vacation,” she tweeted.

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