Democrats poised to challenge DeSantis surgeon general for wacky pandemic views and 'extreme political rhetoric': report
Many medical experts have cringed when Dr. Joseph Ladapo, Florida’s surgeon general under Gov. Ron DeSantis, expressed his controversial views on the COVID-19 pandemic — for example, claiming that vaccines and masks are overrated. But DeSantis obviously views Ladapo in political terms rather than medical or scientific terms and sees him as a good way to offend Democrats.
Ladapo’s views aren’t going unchallenged, however. And on Wednesday, January 26, according to the Daily Beast reporter Michael Daly, DeSantis’ controversial pick for Florida surgeon general will have to answer some tough questions when he appears at a confirmation hearing by the Florida State Senate’s Health Policy Committee.
Daly describes some of the reasons why many medical experts have a low opinion of Ladapo, who once described reliance on COVID-19 vaccines, face masks and testing as “the trifecta of stupidity.” Countless medical experts have said that those three things are highly effective ways to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
According to Florida State Sen. Tina Polsky, Ladapo’s anti-masker views were painfully evident when she met him back in October 2021.
Daly explains, “Early misgivings about his suitability arose during a ‘get acquainted’ visit to the Senate after his appointment in October. The senators Ladapo visited included Democrat Tina Polsky, who has a sign on her door asking all who enter to wear a mask. He and two men with him strode inside and stood in the waiting area with their faces uncovered. Polsky asked Ladapo to put on a mask. He suggested there were alternatives such as going outside.”
At the time, Polsky had undergone surgery for breast cancer and was getting ready to receive radiation treatment — which would be interrupted if she tested positive for COVID-19.
Polsky told the Beast, “I said ‘No, I would like to sit here in my office, where I have chairs and a comfortable setting, but I would like you to wear a mask’…. I said, ‘I have a serious medical condition’…. I kept backing up into my aide’s office because I was so uncomfortable. I had my mask on, of course.’”
Polsky also recalled, “I didn’t talk to him about any substantive issues because he wouldn’t put on a mask so I could sit down and have a conversation with him about his credentials…. I said, ‘You can leave now, if you’re not going to wear a mask’…. The real kicker was when he left, my other aide was outside and heard him say something like, ‘I love to rile up those liberals.’”
The fact that Polsky was being treated for a “serious medical condition,” as she described her cancer treatment, obviously didn’t matter to Ladapo as long as he had a chance to offend a Democrat.
One of the Democrats who plans to aggressively question Ladapo at the January 26 hearing is Florida State Sen. Janet Cruz, who told the Beast, “In my opinion, he’s proven time and time again that data and science are not on the top of his mind when making decisions about the health and wellness of Florida…. So much misinformation is flying around, it’s important to have Florida’s top doc, if that’s what you want to call him, grounded in fact and not in extreme political rhetoric. His rhetoric does not line up with the reality.”
Cruz wondered if Ladapo is “just a straight up opportunist who will say and do anything to advance his career,” adding, “I don’t know, but I’m disappointed. I’ve been disappointed by many of his comments.”
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