Crist rips DeSantis over Florida COVID-19 spike: 'We don't have leadership'

Rep. Charlie CristCharles (Charlie) Joseph CristBudowsky: Newsom soars while Trump, Abbott, DeSantis ratings lag Democrats face bleak outlook in Florida Lawmakers making Instagram appearance before Free Britney rally at Capitol MORE (D), a Florida gubernatorial candidate, blasted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisWhere election review efforts stand across the US Schools without mask mandate 3.5 times more likely to have COVID-19 outbreaks: CDC study Texas limits business with Ben & Jerry's over Israel move MORE (R) on Sunday, accusing him of neglecting his duties amid a spike in COVID-19 infections in the state and playing presidential politics at the Texas border.

During a campaign appearance, Crist pointed to the recent rise in Florida's COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

“You know what’s happening. We have gone to the top. And it is a dubious distinction,” Crist said. “And why is that? Because we don’t have leadership.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“What’s he [DeSantis] doing about it? He’s going to Texas. He goes to the border. Texas. You’re the governor of Florida, you know,” Crist continued. “He doesn’t understand. And you know he’s spending our tax dollars out there, giving our law enforcement to Texas while people are dying in Florida. Unbelievable.”

DeSantis recently traveled to Texas to attend a “border security briefing" while COVID-19 cases in Florida skyrocketed, eliciting criticisms from Democrats. The Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board also recently criticized the governor's trip.

"Where was Gov. Ron DeSantis as this health crisis resurged? Visiting hospitals? Consulting with physicians and public health experts? Huddling with his staff to brainstorm ways of persuading more Floridians to take the vaccine that would nip this pandemic in the bud?” the board asked. “Nope. Florida’s governor was in Texas, 1,000 miles from Tallahassee, burnishing his 2024 presidential ambitions with a visit to the southern border."

“I love Florida. I love her with all my heart,” Crist said at the rally, accusing DeSantis of using Florida as a "stepping stone" to a possible presidential run in 2024.

“Gov. DeSantis is successfully defending the interests of Florida residents and his only goal is to lead Republicans to a resounding victory in the Sunshine State 2022,” Helen Aguirre Ferré, executive director of the Republican Party of Florida, told the Sentinel.

“Thanks to Gov. DeSantis, Florida is booming as a free and open state and the number of residents from other states who are calling Florida home agree with his policies," she added.