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Once-visible DeSantis remains behind closed doors as cases surge

People are looking for leadership as COVID-19 runs rampant. Other states are enforcing pandemic restrictions, but Gov. Ron DeSantis is staying behind closed doors.

He did, however, get a message out on Thursday, releasing a five-minute video on YouTube where he talked about the promise of COVID-19 vaccines and Florida’s plan to distribute them. He also said he won’t make the vaccines mandatory.

But why a video? Especially when he has a history of holding long news conferences.

In the last 17 days, we’ve seen him in public just three times, and he’s answered zero questions from reporters, including on Thursday when he quickly left after a Special Olympics ceremony in Lake County.

Florida voters elected Nikki Fried, a Democrat, to work with DeSantis as his commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

“During a crisis, leaders need to over-communicate with the public, you know the governor has done just the opposite. He hides his actions, doesn’t talk to the press,” she said.

DeSantis has canceled all but two of their Cabinet meetings since the pandemic broke out, Fried said, and when they did meet, he didn’t allow her to bring in experts like the surgeon general.

“He doesn’t want to talk with anybody who doesn’t agree with how he views his approach, has been unwilling to listen to other opinions or views on how this should be done. It’s his way or the highway.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday warned Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving and to instead celebrate with the people who live with you.

The governor made it clear in September that he wants families to be together this time of year, and in Thursday’s video, he didn’t address the CDC’s advisory.

“His priorities are keeping favoritism in the Trump world, looking at 2024 and his eyes on the presidency for 2024,” Fried said.

WINK News reached out to no fewer than 10 ranking Republicans in Florida. Only Doris Cortese, the vice-chair of the Lee County Republican Party, got back to us, saying the governor is 100% behind the president.

As for COVID-19, Cortese said, “There’s nothing to address. It’s greatly exaggerated. No need to make a statement. Made the statement necessary to open up the state.”

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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