Gov. Ron DeSantis has been missing in action as Covid cases in the state have spiked to new heights, Florida Democratic officials charge.The governor's press office released a photo of DeSantis at a bagel shop, but it was two weeks old.
"Counties are overwhelmed w/ lines that stretch for miles," state Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat, tweeted Thursday. "It's every man/woman for themselves, because leadership is MIA," he added.
DeSantis, a Republican and outspoken opponent of vaccine and mask mandates, last held a Covid press briefing on Dec. 17. Covid cases have reached new highs in Florida since then....
In a press conference Tuesday, Mayor Jerry Demings of Orange County, a Democrat, called on the governor to step up his response efforts because the omicron surge has resulted in people waiting in line as long as five hours to get tested.
"We have not received any assistance from the state of Florida at our testing sites," Demings said. "Local governments have been left to figure it out and respond on our own. We are doing our best."
Ron DeSantis posted this today, as though he were in Florida. What he didn’t know, is the bagel shop posted the same photo two weeks ago. Ron DeSantis has been missing for over two weeks as COVID rages out of control in Florida, and there are no treatments or testing sites. pic.twitter.com/WYE5UT4OOJ— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) December 31, 2021
Some speculated that DeSantis was ill, possibly with COVID, or having an affair, like South Carolina governor Mark Sanford in 2009. I had my own theory:
The case numbers were dropping in his state, he plans to spend the next three years running for governor and then president ... so he scheduled surgery for the holidays. Then omicron hit - but when can he get everything snipped and tightened if not now?— Steve M. (@nomoremister) December 30, 2021
In response to the speculation, his press secretary tweeted this yesterday:
ICYMI: @GovRonDeSantis has a wife and 3 kids ages 1-5, and it’s not surprising if he wants to take a few days off at Christmas to spend time with his family, especially as his wife is battling cancer.— Christina Pushaw 🐊 (@ChristinaPushaw) December 30, 2021
I don’t criticize Biden for going to Rehoboth Beach all week, right?
And now we have a fuller response, at Fox News, DeSantis's favorite media outlet:
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis accompanied his wife to her cancer treatment while critics were accusing the governor of taking a vacation as coronavirus cases spiked, Fox News has learned.So if that's the case, why didn't the governor's office simply say so before he disappeared from public view? Our politics may be more smashmouth than civilized, but if DeSantis or his press secretary had simply said this days ago, the governor's critics would have cut him some slack.
A DeSantis spokesperson said the governor accompanied wife Casey to cancer treatment Dec. 29, the day several left-wing critics accused the governor of "missing."
DeSantis' announced in October that his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer, telling Fox News at the time that as "the mother of three young children, Casey is the centerpiece of our family and has made an impact on the lives of countless Floridians through her initiatives as first lady."
But that's now how Republicans operate. They see every waking moment as an opportunity to gain partisan advantage, and they think their opponents approach politics exactly the same way. I think DeSantis didn't announce this because he believes he can never let his guard down, never expose himself in public as a person, someone whose life might have troubles and difficulties. IVn a Trump-like way, he believes he can never be vulnerable. He hired his press secretary not because she can do the old-fashioned job of keeping the public informed about what he and his administration are doing in a straightforward way, but because she's a partisan attack dog. For DeSantis, politics is total war. And this Fox story is clearly intended to shame his critics.
Now it's being reported that DeSantis will make a public appearance tonight at the Orange Bowl. The moment will pass. But it didn't have to become a partisan fight. If the simple explanation is that DeSantis is a person who just wanted to be with a sick wife and their kids, he could have just said so.