A newly-elected city commissioner in Miami could not say the Pledge of Allegiance and had to be helped by the public.
Miami City Commissioner Sabina Covo, a Democrat, was just elected to the commission in a February 27 special election. During her first commission meeting on Thursday evening, Covo was asked to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, but said she did not know it. The commission chairwoman and the public had to say the pledge without her.
A Twitter account called Because Miami posted a clip of the commission meeting Friday. In the clip, Commission Chairwoman Christine King said they would say the pledge of allegiance to open the meeting. “Commissioner Covo, could you lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance, please,” she asked. What Covo says is inaudible, but King fills in the blank. “You don’t know it? Ok,” she says. The rest of the commission and city residents in the audience had to say the pledge for her.
Inauspicious debut for new Miami District 2 Commissioner Sabina Covo who, when asked by Chairwoman Christine King to lead the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of yesterday’s city commission meeting, revealed she doesn’t know it. #BecauseMiami pic.twitter.com/xkKbw915kC
— Because Miami (@BecauseMiami) March 10, 2023
Covo responded to the tweet late Friday morning. “Serving the people of Miami is the honor of a lifetime,” she wrote. “When you feel a responsibility is that important, nervousness is very normal, and I’m not afraid to admit that I was.”
“The oath and pledge I took to our nation and to the residents of District 2 is clear and I am focused on honoring my promise to get things done for our community,” she continued. “Which is why I am not focused on Twitter Talk – but rather on passing two very important pieces of legislation during my first commission meeting, including one that will provide affordable housing to foster youth. That’s leading through the very words in our Pledge of Allegiance and our promise to lead with ethics and integrity.”
Covo is an immigrant to the U.S. According to floridapolitics.com, the 43-year-old commissioner was born in Medellin, Colombia, but has lived in Miami for at least 22 years. She previously worked as a news reporter for Spanish-language news outlets. She also briefly served as director of Hispanic media relations and communications for former Democratic Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
Residents and observers poked fun at the gaffe on Twitter.
“Thanks for the retweet!” Because Miami joked.
“If saying the pledge of allegiance makes you nervous, how does taking care of the people in your district (50,000?) feel? Please,” wrote one user.
“Not focused on Twitter Talk she says while replying to Twitter talk,” another user pointed out.
“Did nerves also lead you to admit you don’t know the pledge?” a user opined. “A better reply in your tweet would be to admit that you forgot it instead of spin this. Yes, nerves are common, but 24 hrs later, your reply is steeped in politics. Why can’t politicians just be normal?”
Covo may not know the Pledge of Allegiance, but Democratic politicians in other states and cities are not saying it for different reasons. In August 2022, the Fargo, North Dakota, school board voted 7 – 2 to stop saying the pledge after board members complained that capitalized “God” was “non-inclusionary.”
In 2021, Silverton, Colorado, Mayor Shane Fuhrman announced that the Pledge of Allegiance would no longer be said at the start of city trustee meetings because of the “general divisiveness” it allegedly created in the community. But attendees at the meeting immediately revolted and said the pledge anyway.