© 2024 Central Florida Public Media. All Rights Reserved.
90.7 FM Orlando • 89.5 FM Ocala
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Soto and other Florida Democrats slam DeSantis over pandemic response

U.S. Rep. Darren Soto speaks during a press conference over Zoom on Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Darren Soto speaks during a press conference over Zoom on Thursday.

The war of words between Gov. Ron DeSantis and Democratic leaders continued Thursday as Central Florida Congressman Darren Soto and others denounced his handling of the pandemic.

A day earlier DeSantis declared he didn't want to hear "a blip about COVID" from President Biden until he secured the border.

The Democratic press conference came as the CDC reported more than 20,000 new cases of COVID-19 in Florida, at least four times more than any other state.

Soto says Florida didn't have to be a COVID hotspot and stressed the need for vaccinations.

"From cruise lines to schools, local control to masks, even mixed signals on vaccines, Governor DeSantis has been on the wrong side of all these issues. That's how we've gotten (here)," he said during the press conference over Zoom.

[audio mp3="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/SOTO.mp3"][/audio]

He urged DeSantis to work with Biden and Congress to protect Floridians or "get out of the way." 

Soto's critique was mild compared to that of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She laid into the governor as a public health threat who, in her words, "is giving the middle finger to science."

She says his policies continually subject people "to death by DeSantis."

Joe Byrnes came to Central Florida Public Media from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.