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Nikki Fried says Gov. Ron DeSantis sending 'wrong message' to Floridians

Florida agriculture commissioner calls out governor during stop in Sewall's Point
Posted at 1:59 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 17:20:00-04

SEWALL'S POINT, Fla. — Nikki Fried on Wednesday accused Gov. Ron DeSantis of "walking around with anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers and sending the wrong message to the people of our state."

Florida's agriculture commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate continued to criticize the Republican governor's lack of leadership in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fried provided a COVID-19 update during a stop in Sewall's Point to promote her department's clean water initiative. She once again called on DeSantis and the Florida Department of Health to resume releasing daily COVID-19 data.

The state now releases its information weekly, despite a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

"With the troubling and delayed numbers we've seen since Friday, I hate to imagine what our numbers will show next week," Fried said.

DeSantis has resisted calls for a statewide mask mandate or vaccine requirements, leading President Joe Biden to tell him and other Republican governors Tuesday to "get out of the way" if they are unwilling to help prevent the spread of the more transmissible delta variant.

That led DeSantis to blast Biden during a Wednesday news conference in Panama City, where he blamed Biden's border policy for contributing to the spread and "helping to facilitate it in our country."

WATCH: DeSantis blasts Biden

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks about President Biden, border security, and COVID-19

"Why don't you do your job? Why don't you get this border secure?" DeSantis said. "And until you do that, I don't want to hear a blip about COVID from you."

Fried also accused DeSantis of playing politics with the lives of Floridians and said he has "hamstrung" county and municipal governments from doing what needs to be done to keep their communities safe.

"This is serious," she said. "We are in a crisis. Everybody needs to do their part and, unfortunately, the governor is not doing his."