Democrats accused Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of going "missing" or being on vacation last week as COVID-19 cases surge in the Sunshine State.
DeSantis, however, was not AWOL. Instead, he was accompanying his wife, Casey, as she received treatment for cancer.
What did critics say?
- Mayor Jerry Demings (D) of Orange County: "Our residents, all Florida residents should be outraged, and they should ask the question, now, where's our state? Where's our governor? Where is Ron DeSantis now? When was the last time you saw the governor do a press briefing regarding COVID-19?"
- MSNBC host Tiffany Cross: "[T]he incompetent Trump acolyte appears to be missing in action as Omicron sweeps across his state."
- MSNBC host Joy Reid: "A governor, not governing during a crisis; and sunning his belly on vacation instead. @GovRonDeSantis is the Nero of Ted Cruzes."Rep.
- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: "Hasn’t Gov. DeSantis been inexplicably missing for like 2 weeks?"
- The Daily Beast: "Please Take a Moment From Your Vacation, Ron DeSantis, and Reassure Florida"
Nikki Fried, the Florida commissioner of Agriculture who is running for governor as a Democrat, also used the moment to advance her campaign.
"As governor, I'll show up," she said Friday.
But what is the truth?
DeSantis did not abandon his governor duties like his critics claimed. Instead, he was with his wife on Dec. 29 as she underwent treatment for breast cancer, Fox News reported. The DeSantis family shared Casey's diagnosis in October.
In fact, DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw explained that DeSantis was at the Capitol every day last week except on Wednesday — the day he accompanied his wife while she underwent treatment.
"If you have ever had a loved one fighting cancer, you understand that 'spending time with family' is not always 'vacation,'" Pushaw said.
Pushaw also directly responded to Reid's accusations by posting a copy of DeSantis' schedule on Dec. 30 — thus revealing a busy day of work at the Capitol — and said, "Have you ever considered that you’re one of the reasons nobody trusts the media?"
Meanwhile, DeSantis communications staffer Kyle Lamb explained that just because DeSantis did not have public events scheduled, that did not mean he was abdicating his work responsibilities.
"Just FYI, @GovRonDeSantis is not on vacation. Literally no one from our office has said that he is," Lamb explained. "Anyone pushing that could have easily seen the public schedule and seen that he's taking calls and meetings this past week. Not having public events does not = 'vacation.'"