WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — As Gov. Ron DeSantis has resisted calls from Florida Democrats to issue a statewide mask mandate amid a rapidly rising number of coronavirus cases, the hashtag #DeSantisResign has become a trending topic on Twitter.
The state with the second-highest number of residents over age 65 (nearly 4.5 million) is now edging toward exponential growth in coronavirus cases.— Nick Knudsen 🇺🇸 (@DemWrite) June 25, 2020
This is a disaster in the making.
Florida, your leaders have failed you. #DeSantisResign #DumpTrump2020 #DemCastFL pic.twitter.com/qjL8jyz36O
The scariest thing about this data is that, unlike New York, we won't have a leader that'll take a stand against COVID-19. History will not look down on you nicely, Ron. #DeSantisResign #DeSantisFailedFlorida pic.twitter.com/xqjglTDuBx— Robbie (@Robin_urlove) June 24, 2020
The 13 Democratic members of Florida's congressional delegation wrote a letter to the Republican governor Wednesday urging him to "implement an immediate statewide mask order" for people in public places.
"Requiring that Floridians wear masks in public is an essential part of this accountability because people are more likely to become infected when others choose not to be responsible and wear masks," U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings and Lois Frankel, along with the 11 other Florida Democrats in Congress, wrote in their joint letter to DeSantis.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the lone Democrat on the governor's Cabinet, has now joined her fellow Democrats in pushing DeSantis to require all Floridians to wear masks.
"This is common sense, violates no one's liberties and follows the lead of 18 other states like North Carolina, Kentucky and New York," Fried said Thursday in a statement. "If we're to beat this virus together, we must all act together, with all Floridians doing their part."
Palm Beach County recently joined Miami-Dade and Broward counties in requiring masks, leading to much rancor from a large number of people who showed up at Tuesday's meeting vehemently opposed to a countywide order.
DeSantis has repeatedly said he didn't think a statewide order was necessary, which he reiterated during a news conference Tuesday in Orlando.
"You catch more flies with honey than vinegar," he said.
Instead, DeSantis said, he has encouraged communities to craft their own regulations regarding masks.
"The outbreak is not uniform," he said.
DeSantis was initially slow to issue a statewide shutdown but eventually did so in early April, leading some to criticize him for waiting too long. Now the criticism has returned.