Gov. Ron DeSantis Rips Potential Democrat Challenger: Virtue-Signaling ‘Lockdown Lobbyist’

Newly sworn-in Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks during an event at the Freedom Tower where he named Barbara Lagoa to the Florida Supreme Court on January 09, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Mr. DeSantis was sworn in yesterday as the 46th governor of the state of Florida.(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images,)
Joe Raedle/Getty

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) blasted his potential Democrat challenger, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D), after she announced her gubernatorial bid this week, blasting her as a “lockdown lobbyist” who spends her time virtue-signaling to “small-dollar donors in California and New York.”

“Nikki Fried has done nothing in office. She does nothing. All she does is emote on social media, virtue signal to small-dollar donors in California and New York,” DeSantis said.

“She put her face — spent millions of dollars — to put her face on every gas pump across this state purely to boost her own image at your expense as a taxpayer. She’s a lockdown lobbyist. She would have had our kids locked out of schools the whole year,” he continued.

“She would have had this business shuttered for the whole year. They would be out of business if Fried were governor. So she’s opposed us at every turn,” DeSantis added, noting she has opposed “all the good stuff we’ve been able to accomplish for Florida.”

“I’ve done more, I think, in my first week as governor than she has done in her entire time as agricultural commissioner,” he said to applause:

Fried, a radical, outspoken critic of the governor, announced her bid on Tuesday, accusing the Republican governor of embracing what she described as a “right-wing agenda and authoritarian style of governing that doesn’t fit in the state of Florida”:

Indeed, Fried has stood as a primary critic of DeSantis and his pro-freedom approach throughout the pandemic. In April 2020, for example, she criticized DeSantis for allowing churches to remain open.

Last month, she falsely asserted the Florida GOP is “going full Jim Crow” due to the election integrity measure SB 90, which bans ballot harvesting and enhances basic voter identification requirements:

Most recently, Fried decried DeSantis for signing a bill this week protecting women’s sports, making biological sex the determining factor for participation.

“In Florida, girls are going to play girls sports, and boys are going to play boys sports,” DeSantis said ahead of signing the bill during an event in Jacksonville, Florida, on Tuesday.

Fried, however, described the action as a “heartless ban on transgender kids in sports”:

“What we’re really doing is protecting women against discrimination in athletic competition,” DeSantis told Breitbart News when asked how he responds to his critics. “I think that’s something that’s really important — that we preserve the integrity and fairness of these girls’ and women’s sports.”

Notably, in February, Fried stood in direct defiance of DeSantis’s order to fly flags at half-staff in honor of conservative talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh, instructing offices under her jurisdiction to ignore the order.

“I will notify all state offices under my direction to disregard the Governor’s forthcoming order to lower flags for Mr. Limbaugh – because we will not celebrate hate speech, bigotry, and division,” she said at the time.

“Lowering the flag should always reflect unity, not division, and raising our standards, not lowering them. Our flags will remain flying high to celebrate the American values of diversity, inclusion, and respect for all,” she added, advancing the false left-wing smears lodged against the late conservative icon.

Fried will now face off against Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), as both now formally seek the opportunity to challenge DeSantis in 2022.


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