U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist on Tuesday took shots at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over COIVD-19 politics, even as his constituents benefit from the policies put in place by the Republican governor.
Instead of eyeing DeSantis, Crist, a Democrat from St. Petersburg who was a longtime Republican, maintained that to find leadership on the coronavirus, one must “listen to the guy in the highest office in the land,” President Joe Biden
“To see the policies that the governor is promoting, not wearing a mask, not being socially distanced appropriately, it seems like he doesn’t care. And it hurts me and pains me to say that,” Crist said on MSNBC.
Continuing, Crist noted,” When you see these policies and kind of bragging about how we’re over it, we’ve made it through, and then you watch spring break and see what happens. Now, as you said from The New York Times, we’re experiencing a surge, about 5,000 cases a day on average, 8 percent more in an increase than it was just two weeks ago. It’s incredibly disappointing, it’s unconscionable, it’s not compassionate, it’s not caring, and it’s not right.”
Crist then argued that it was Biden, not DeSantis, who “got it right.
“The president has been thoughtful. He’s been thorough. He’s been laser-focused and compassionate about how to handle this virus,” said Crist.
“You know, he already achieved 100 million vaccines in about 55 days on track to probably get to over 200 million vaccines in the first 100 days. Thank God for President Biden. He is doing an extraordinary job looking out for the people of the entire country, doing what’s right and the kind of leadership that Florida needs to have right now.”
Finishing his attack, Crist added, “It’s a good thing that we don’t just rely on Governor DeSantis and his lack of leadership. We can rely on President Joe Biden and his true leadership of compassion, honesty, transparency, which is another issue here in Florida. The governor’s office is dragging on request from media outlets all over the place, won’t give them. Now we hear tonight in your intro there may be lying actually happening about the number of deaths in Florida, perhaps even thousands more than they’re actually reporting. It’s disgraceful.”
“There’s an assault on our country,” said Crist. “We’re not through this thing yet. We have to take it seriously.”
Setting aside Crist’s stroking of Biden, who remains masked up even after he’s been vaccinated, thus undermining his own rhetoric on vaccines, and who is riding high on policies implemented by former President Donald Trump, look at the data.
In the report Crist trumpeted, the Times noted, “If recent trends there (in Florida) are any indication, the rest of the country may be in trouble.”
Crist simply failed to mention the key aspect of that Times report: that Florida’s new infections are among the young, who are least vulnerable to the virus, and as the Times pointed out, albeit without data, “hospitalizations and deaths are still down.”
By the Times’ own metrics, Florida’s death rate – 155 per 100,000 – remains 27th in the country. It’s almost on par with still-locked down California (150 per 100,000) and far below a host of blue states, such as New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.
Crist also failed to discuss that, according to those data gurus at The New York Times, that Florida’s number of new cases means it is a place “where new cases are higher and staying high.” What others are in lumped in with Florida? All of the blue states referenced above.
Meanwhile, according to data compiled by Florida Atlantic University, just 2,100 of the nearly 34,000 Floridians who succumbed to the virus were 54 or younger.
And Florida’s hospital-bed capacity, both normal and ICU, has remained stable for months, with the number of empty beds in both categories hovering between 20 and 25 percent.
But let’s not expect Crist to allow facts to get in the way of a partisan rant.