Democrat Charlie Crist denounced Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday as an “oppressive tyrant” willing to send coronavirus-infected children into the public schools and risk the health of other children to please his covid-skeptical political base.
During a Zoom press conference, the Democratic congressman from St. Petersburg — also a gubernatorial candidate for 2022 — argued that a new Florida Department of Health regulation giving parents autonomy to send their kids to class even if exposed or infected with the coronavirus, as long as they are asymptomatic, directly violates guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The regulation, issued on Wednesday by Florida’s new surgeon general, Joseph Ladapo, threatens all the work local officials have invested in containing the coronavirus, Crist told reporters.
“Which is why I have called on Dr. Ladapo to be removed from office before the innocent children get hurt,” Crist said.
“The governor and his cronies have lost a grip on reality facing our state and are endlessly pandering to their base regardless of Floridians that they hurt,” he said.
“Because instead of listening to the experts, understanding the science, or following the lead of local leaders on the ground who know the situation best in their communities, he’s become an oppressive tyrant who now supports sending covid-positive children into classrooms.”
The new regulation countermands earlier guidance that kids exposed to covid should stay home until any virus has had a chance to clear their systems. Both regulations allow parents to decide whether their children should wear face masks to hinder transmission. About 10 school districts have imposed stricter mask mandates in defiance of the governor.
DeSantis has argued that federal public health authorities have issued conflicting and confusing advice about containing covid and that, in any event, younger people including children are able to slough off infections without serious symptoms. He has listened to advisers like Jay Bhattacharya of Standford University, who argue that masks haven’t been proven to protect against infection.
“What the governor and the surgeon general are doing is not about keeping children safe. I think it’s exactly the opposite. It is reckless,” Crist said.
“The notion that the leaders at the top of the state on this issue would be saying it’s OK to send kids with covid into classrooms is unconscionable. It’s remarkably unbelievable. I can’t believe we’re going to have to address it this way,” he said.
“These guys went to good schools. I think both of them went to Harvard and the governor also went to Yale. I cannot comprehend what’s guiding him, I really can’t,” Crist continued.
(DeSantis holds an undergraduate degree from Yale and a law degree from Harvard. Ladapo holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard. Crist graduated from Florida State University and holds a law degree from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.)
The new regulation came one day after DeSantis announced that he had hired Ladapo to serve as the state’s highest medical authority. The doctor’s opinions about managing the pandemic differ markedly from the medical consensus — he has endorsed the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine, for example — but closely align with the governors approach.
“Maybe it takes a graduate of one of our state universities like me to have common sense to be able to be not arrogant enough to listen to people, to listen to experts, to health care professionals, to physicians, to nurses, to front-line heroes on this issue, and take their advice and heed it, and spread that word, seriously, to the people of the Sunshine State and simply just to the right thing,” Crist said.
“This is not political,” he continued. “This isn’t right versus left; this is right versus wrong.”
Crist counseled the school boards challenging the administration policy to keep fighting.
“I would recommend strongly to the districts that have already had courageous, bold leadership on this issue to continue to do exactly that,” he said.
–Michael Moline, Florida Phoenix
Chris you are a Dem. I will vote for you if you are the nominee for the Dem. party. Will you do a better job than DeSantis?
The State of Florida needs you back Charlie, this other character is not protecting the people, children of the state he swore on a stake of bibles he would. He has failed in all aspects of his responsibilities. He is only out for himself and those that contribute money into his campaign. He is taking a play book out of his idol remember his ad building blocks with his child, never will forget that one.
Charlie Ericksen Jr says
Leave it to Charlie Crist to complain. He’s a loser , as his past election runs verify. .. Probably hired by the DEMs to keep up the minutia , put out daily by the White House..
Let’s get our lives back to normal and address the real problems in the USA,
charlie criss is a nightmare he cannot tie ron desnantis shoes he
would destroy florida like this wicked administration.
https://nikkifried.com/ This lady interests me and if you google her name, there is quite a bit of info. I will be watching her progress.. However, with the truckloads of money desantis is getting, he’s going to be hard to beat,in my opinion. But there is always hope people will see the true light and vote desantis out.
While I’ve never been a fan of Charlie Christ, he most certainly is preferable to DeSantis. . . who is doing all he can to keep Floridians and visitors at high risk of contracting a highly contagious, lethal virus! I agree with Mike, DeSantis has already implemented voter suppression legislation. . . next he’ll be coming after a woman’s right to control her own body!
VOTE AGAINST DeSantis!
As a Democrat, I will not vote for Charlie Crist. There has to be someone better than Crist.
Anyone is better than Desantis who is killing thousands with his idiotic Covid policies!