Florida’s new surgeon general is making over twice his predecessor’s salary: report

Florida’s new surgeon general is making over twice his predecessor’s salary: report

On September 21, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced that Dr. Joseph Ladapo would be the state's new surgeon general — and, according to reporting published in the Tallahassee Democrat on October 11, Ladapo will be receiving more than twice the salary of the last person to hold that position, Scott Rivkees.

Jeffrey Schweers, a reporter for the USA Today Network's Florida Bureau, explains, "Florida's new health secretary, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, will make $362,000 a year — his combined pay from the Department of Health and the University of Florida, where he is a professor of general internal medicine. Ladapo's salary marks a $123,000 bump over that of his more experienced predecessor, Scott Rivkees, during his tenure. The position also holds the titles of surgeon general and state health officer. It's also about $50,000 more than the $319,000 a year Ladapo made as a research professor at the University of California, Los Angeles."

Ladapo's salary as Florida surgeon general, according to Schweers, will be 52% higher than what Rivkees was making.

It isn't hard to understand why DeSantis wanted Ladapo for the position. DeSantis, like many other far-right Trumpistas, has often downplayed the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic and has stressed his opposition to mask mandates and vaccine mandates — views that Ladapo shares. Ladapo's views on COVID-19, Schweers notes, are "controversial" in the medical community.

"The Harvard Medical School grad has written over a dozen articles in the Wall Street Journal, USA TODAY, and the New York Daily News expressing views that are controversial," Schweers observes. "Those include promoting the benefits of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin against COVID, and criticizing the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine, mask mandates and lockdowns. He also has been associated with extremist groups, including America's Frontline Doctors — a right-wing group known for spreading misinformation about the pandemic — and the Tea Party Patriots Action, a conservative anti-mandate group."

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