Democratic state senators demanded an apology Monday from Gov. Ron DeSantis for comments attributing the uptick in COVID-19 cases to “overwhelmingly Hispanic” construction workers and farm laborers.
“Some of these guys go to work in a school bus, and they are all just packed there like sardines, going across Palm Beach County or some of these other places, and there’s all these opportunities to have transmission,” the governor said in a press conference last week.
These statements “could be characterized as either misinformed insensitive statements or shameful scapegoating of an entire ethnic community, but either way are offensive and inappropriate comments from our state’s chief executive,” eight Democratic legislators argued in a letter to the governor.
“Moreover, these workers are essential workers on the front lines; without them no recovery would be possible,” the letter continues.
“On behalf of the nearly five million Hispanics living in Florida, we ask you to rescind and publicly apologize for the hurtful and inaccurate comments you made last week.”
The letter challenges DeSantis to “show the leadership that you were elected to provide for all Floridians and stop shirking your responsibility by attempting to blame innocent victims and ethnic groups.”
DeSantis’s Communications Director, Helena Aguirre Ferré, responded to the letter in a tweet.
“[email protected] ensured these farm workers received medical testing and treatment for #COVID19, which clearly they needed. If these Democrats are so concerned, why didn’t they step up? This is politics at its worst,” the tweet says.
The letter bears signatures from Victor Torres of Orange and Osceola counties; Jose Javier Rodriguez and Annette Taddeo of Miami-Dade; Lori Berman of Palm Beach; Audrey Gibson of Duval; Randolph Bracy of Orange; Janet Cruz of Hillsborough; and Gary Farmer of Broward.