Florida Senator Claims Surgeon General Ignored Mask Request, But Huddles With Democrats While Maskless

Florida’s new top doc was booted from a meeting with a state senator last week because he declined her request to wear a mask during the gathering.

According to Florida Politics, Democratic Sen. Tina Polsky, who has been diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer, asked new state Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo and two of his legislative aides to leave her office because of his refusal to put on a mask made her “uncomfortable.”

“I told him I had a serious medical condition,” Polsky, who will begin radiation treatment next week, told Florida Politics.

Instead of masking up, Ladapo offered a compromise: take the meeting outside. Polsky refused.

“I really wanted to interview him. I had a lot of good questions,” she told Florida Politics, adding that Ladapo was “very smug” in his rejection of her request. “So that was unfortunate that I didn’t do it. But I felt really uncomfortable.”

Yet on Monday, after Florida’s political class from both sides of the aisle widely criticized Ladapo for his supposed insensitivity, the story took a twist.

The Capitolist, a Tallahassee-based news website, reported Polsky has had no problem in recent days huddling maskless with other Democrats – including on the day of her encounter with Ladapo, which she claimed was so unsettling.

The outlet reported that on Oct. 12 a photo was posted on Twitter of Polsky hugging Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones in celebration of his birthday.

“More recent video has since surfaced,” The Capitolist continued, “showing Polksy in close proximity with fellow Democrat State Senator Loranne Ausley during an Agriculture Committee hearing on October 20th.” That was the day she met with Ladapo.

“While Polsky arrived at the [Oct. 20] meeting wearing a mask, she removed it completely after taking her seat,” The Capitolist noted. “Neither Polsky nor Ausley wore a mask for the 35-minute duration of the meeting, and [Polsky] leaned closely to speak with Ausley at the conclusion of the meeting.”

The Capitolist reported that Polsky also was photographed standing closely by another Democrat, Sen. Lauren Book, some time before the photo with Jones was snapped.

Polsky maintained that the Book picture was taken before she knew her cancer diagnosis.

“It’s not clear when Polsky began enforcing the office masking policy. When asked about the video and photos of Polksy appearing with unmasked colleagues, her office acknowledged she hasn’t consistently applied the policy, but insists that Lapado should have done so when requested rather than attempt to move the meeting outside where both might be more comfortable,” The Capitolist added.

The senator herself admitted as much in trying to defend her double standard.

“Although I have certainly not been perfect about wearing a mask I have never declined to wear one when someone has asked me to do so,” Polsky told The Capitolist. “I am also very thankful that the Senate President agrees that this is an issue of respect and decorum. The bottom line is the Surgeon General should have respected my wishes.”

With that comment, Polsky was referring to Republican Senate President Wilton Simpson, who publicly chastised Ladapo as being “unprofessional” for turning down Polsky’s request. 

Ladapo is an inviting target for Democrats, including Polsky herself, who have demanded that Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis yank Ladapo’s nomination as surgeon general, or alternatively for the Senate to reject his confirmation.

That’s because the surgeon general’s opinions of vaccine and mask mandates closely align with that of DeSantis.

Perhaps Ladapo was confused by Polsky’s request because, as the senator has shown, her own policy is inconsistent and seems to apply only to Republicans.

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One Reply to “Florida Senator Claims Surgeon General Ignored Mask Request, But Huddles With Democrats While Maskless”

  1. The whole truth is the Dr asked if they could meet outside if she was uncomfortable but she refused. He asked if he could stand in the hall and she stay in her office for the. Meeting but she refused. People walk by her office all day long without masks.

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