Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) on Wednesday accompanied his wife to a cancer treatment while critics attacked and mocked him for allegedly taking time off.
While DeSantis’ public schedule has been light in the last couple weeks of the year, the Florida governor has not gone on vacation, staying busy in less publicized work such as staff meetings. On Wednesday, however, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings set off a torrent of criticism of DeSantis by suggesting that the governor had abandoned Florida to a recent variant of the coronavirus.
“Our residents, all Florida residents should be outraged, and they should ask the question, ‘Now, where’s our state? Where’s our governor?’” Demings said. “Where is Ron DeSantis now? When was the last time you saw the governor do a press briefing regarding COVID-19?”
That same day, DeSantis had taken his wife, Casey, to a cancer treatment session, a spokesman for DeSantis’ office told Fox News.
Demings’ comments on DeSantis were followed up on Friday by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who attacked DeSantis after she was photographed vacationing in Florida as COVID-19 cases spike in her home state of New York.
“Hasn’t Gov. DeSantis been inexplicably missing for like 2 weeks? If he’s around, I would be happy to say hello. His social media team seems to have been posting old photos for weeks,” she posted on Twitter after DeSantis’ campaign mocked her for vacationing at Miami Beach.
“In the meantime, perhaps I could help with local organizing. Folks are quite receptive here,” she added before touting New York’s COVIID-19 response. “I’d also be happy to share some notes from @GovKathyHochul’s work in NY since he seems to be in need of tips!”
Kyle Lamb, who works as a data analyst for Desantis’ office, said on Thursday that the governor was not on vacation as claims began bouncing around the internet. Lamb tweeted:
Just FYI, @GovRonDeSantis is not on vacation. Literally no one from our office has said that he is. Anyone pushing that could have easily seen the public schedule and seen that he’s taking calls and meetings this past week. Not having public events does not = “vacation”
This is a really odd, desperate attempt to make a controversy where none exists.
Last year, there were no public events on the calendar between Dec. 22-29. The Governor is doing work behind the scenes with a lighter public schedule just like last year.
DeSantis and his wife announced her breast cancer diagnosis in October.
“I am saddened to report that Florida’s esteemed First Lady and my beloved wife has been diagnosed with breast cancer,” DeSantis said at the time. “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.”
“As she faces the most difficult test of her life, she will have not only have my unwavering support but the support of our entire family, as well as the prayers and well wishes from Floridians across our state,” he added. “Casey is a true fighter, and she will never, never, never give up.”