Democratic Ag Commissioner Fried calls Gov. DeSantis’ remarks ‘irresponsible, destructive’

By: - November 6, 2020 3:39 pm

Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Donald Trump at the White House in April 2020, discussing coronavirus and reopening Florida. Credit: Screenshot, ABC 25 WPBF.

When President Trump claimed Thursday night that vote-counting is rigged against him, Trump ally and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis loudly seconded him.

Speaking on a conservative TV talk show Thursday night, DeSantis urged Trump supporters to call on Republican-led legislatures in battleground states to ignore Biden victories in their states and name their own presidential electors, a practice that would make them “faithless electors.”

If they do so, they would buck the normal practice of a state’s electoral-college votes being obligated to the declared winner and would instead cast those votes however they wish.

“I would also tell them, especially if you’re in those states that have Republican legislatures like Pennsylvania and Michigan and all these places, call your state representatives and your state senators,” DeSantis said on air.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried. Credit: CD Davidson-Hiers/Florida Phoenix

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only Florida Democrat elected statewide, called DeSantis’ remarks inflammatory.

“@GovRonDeSantis, this rhetoric is irresponsible, destructive, and will inflame tensions of an already fragile nation. Counting every legal ballot cast is what ensured you a victory. Stop spreading false conspiracies because you’re worried about a @realDonaldTrump loss,” she tweeted.

DeSantis’ message to ignore the popular vote was echoed by Conservative Review editor and right-wing website Breitbart contributor Daniel Horowitz, whose op-ed ran Thursday in the right-wing outlet The Blaze.

Former Democratic Congresswoman Gwen Graham called DeSantis a “sycophant” who slavishly serves Trump. She and others insisted that Trump may not have won Florida by 370,000 votes if DeSantis had not doggedly fought to eviscerate the 2018 constitutional amendment that would have allowed 900,000 ex-felons to vote this year.

Democratic Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith added that while DeSantis focused on trying to salvage Trump, his own state is riddled with COVID-19 after he “reopened” it and lifted all statewide coronavirus restrictions on Sept 25.

“As our democracy hangs in the balance, @GovRonDeSantis is hoping you won’t notice Florida reported a stunning 6,257 new coronavirus cases [Thursday] as the pandemic surges out of control,” Smith tweeted.

The Florida Department of Health on Friday reported 832,625 COVID-19 infections and more than 17,000 resident deaths.

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Laura Cassels
Laura Cassels

Laura Cassels is a reporter, former statehouse bureau chief, and former city editor. She is a classical pianist, a Florida State University graduate and proud alum of the Florida Flambeau, an independent college newspaper.