WASHINGTON — Two months ago, Florida’s Republican leadership took a premature victory lap and reopened the Sunshine State. Since then, COVID-19 cases have surged to new heights — setting the nationwide single day record at more than 11,000 new cases. Hospitals are preparing for the worst and businesses are once again closing their doors.
For months, GOP lawmakers scoffed at warnings from public health experts, boasting that the state had overcome the virus and celebrating the state’s reopening. Their reckless disregard for Floridians’ health and safety, unfortunately, is coming back to haunt them. Like many Republican officials across the country, Florida’s inept GOP leadership is learning all too late that science doesn’t care about political affiliation. Now Floridians are paying the price with their lives.
- Representative Chris Latvala claimed that “the experts and media were wrong when it came to what would happen to Florida.”
- Representative Scott Plakon accused Democrats of “trying to profit politically from this health and economic crisis and keep us shut down until there’s nothing left.”
- Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez was “honored” to announce the reopening of Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, both epicenters of Florida’s surge. Rodriguez also signed on to a joint GOP-ALEC letter to federal officials calling federal aid for states “counterproductive.” Furthermore, she went out of her way to thank Gov. DeSantis for his “methodical, localized, data-driven approach” to reopening.
- Representative Chip LaMarca called for the relaxation of public health restrictions and declared that Florida “can move forward in a logical methodical way, and our economy and community will be better off.”
“Where should Floridians go to get their apology from the GOP?” asked Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “Their ignorance of the grave danger that COVID-19 presents has directly caused case numbers to skyrocket. The safety of Floridians must be the utmost priority, and yet the Florida GOP has repeatedly demonstrated that they are incapable of responsible leadership.”