ORLANDO, Fla. – As the number of COVID-19 cases in Florida soars, some ask why Governor Ron DeSantis does not appear to be present in the state response.
According to the Florida Department of Health report, Florida nearly one millionth of COVID-19.
DeSantis held his last press conference on November 4 to talk about the election, and after about 11 minutes, he abruptly closed the session.
“I’ll probably come back to questions sometime before the weekend,” DeSantis told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
The governor’s schedule has been fairly easy ever since, with plenty of meetings, appearances in the legislature last week, and special Olympic events in Central Florida.
“We can’t find our governor anywhere,” said Carlos Guillermo Smith, State Representative, District 49 D, Orlando.
“He avoids interacting with the public, he doesn’t hold press conferences, he doesn’t ask questions from the media, and for a reason,” Smith added. “He doesn’t want to be held accountable.”
The governor’s communications team didn’t consider reporter issues for a week either.
Spectrum News is among those who asked the governor’s office about COVID-19’s response, criticism of mandate restrictions, and whether the governor himself had ever tested for a corona virus.
Since the elections a the governor’s official Twitter feed reported five times on COVID-19 and vaccine production.
After pressing his office several times for weeks, the office only acknowledged receipt of the questions on Wednesday.
It’s worth noting that the governor’s communications team is led by Director Fred Piccolo, who, according to the state’s employee pay database, receives a $ 154,500 tax payment. That’s more than $ 20,000 more than DeSantis itself, whose salary is Florida Legislation.
As director of communications and answering questions from the media, Piccolo earns more than most executive directors and secretaries in charge of various government agencies.
Source: Florida State Employee Salary Database
Shane Strum, Chief of Staff: $ 180,250
Fred Piccolo, communications director: $ 180,250
Ron DeSantis, Governor: $ 134,181
Lt. Gen. Jeanette Nunez: $ 128,596
Mark Inch, correctional secretary: $ 146,822
Chad Popell, Secretary, Department of Children and Family Affairs: $ 146,822
Kevin Thibault, Secretary of the Department of Transportation: $ 146,822
Richard Prudom, Minister for the Elderly: $ 146,260
Halsey Beshears, Secretary of the Department of Business and Professional Regulations: $ 146,260
Jonathan Satter, Secretary of the Management Services Department: $ 146,260
Laurel Lee, Florida Secretary of State: $ 146,259
Jared Moskowitz, Director of Disaster Management: $ 145,230
Dane Eagle, Director of the Economic Opportunities Department: $ 144,200
“We need a leader in this crisis and a governor is hiding, embarrassed by his failure to withhold COVID-19,” Smith said.
While critics say DeSantis isn’t doing enough, fans say it is.
“I know he didn’t hold a press conference for any reason, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t be seen,” said Randy Fine, a representative of District 53 of Palm Bay State.
“I think it was a good example,” he added.
Fine points out that DeSantis is effectively leading the state through the crisis, pointing out that the governor is wearing a mask at some public events, such as last week’s legislative session.
“What I want you to do is continue to be an example of asking people to do the right thing, that is, to wear a mask, keep social distance, wash their hands and avoid unnecessary gatherings because that’s the right thing to do,” Fine said.
Fine is well aware of the effect of COVID-19. He was hospitalized for several days earlier this year after receiving a positive result with his family.
“I’ve always worn a mask, I’ve been a social distance, I haven’t organized many events, so it just reinforced my thinking that you can do all the right things and only do that to reduce your chances,” he said. .
It should be noted that DeSantis is not always in line with its practice. While President Donald Trump attended three pre-election meetings in Central Florida, the governor was never observed in disguise or social distancing.
Fine says personal responsibility increases a state’s ability to get out of a pandemic safely and healthily. He also supports DeSantis ’recent enforcement order, which bans local governments from imposing fines or penalties for non-compliance with local regulations, such as mask requirements.
“Orders don’t work,” Fine said. “If they worked, the states with the largest closures would not experience surges.”