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Ahead of RNC, Congresswoman Shalala, Floridians Blast Trump for Chaotic Presidency, Failure to Keep Families Safe

This morning, before the Republican National Convention kicked off in North Carolina, the Florida Democratic Party hosted a press call with a diverse group of Florida voices to discuss how Donald Trump’s chaotic leadership has failed to keep families safe, from his mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic to dividing the nation, to refusing to take action to end gun violence.

This event kicked off the Biden for President Florida and the Florida Democratic Party week of action to hold Donald Trump accountable for his chaotic leadership while the Trump campaign distracts and misleads during the RNC.

Congresswoman Donna Shalala, FL-27, former Secretary of Health and Human Services:

“Few states have suffered more from the incompetent leadership of Donald Trump – he goes to the Republican conventions with literally Floridians’ blood on his hands from his inept, incompetent, disasterous leadership of COVID-19. His sidekick DeSantis is equally complacent. More than 10,000 deaths, 600,000 cases — many of which were preventable if the president had acted sooner and decisively to starve the virus. His chaotic leadership has left our unemployment in double digits and he’s failed us with no plan to confront the virus, no plan to open our schools, no plan to do anything other than dismantle the Affordable Care Act and weaken our water and air standards.”

[…] “Campaigns really are not about the candidates, they are about the lives of people. And this president is totally disconnected. He wants to cut unemployment benefits from almost 1 million Floridians. He intends to cut nutrition benefits from millions of seniors and children. He bankrupt our cities and state by failing to sit down and negotiate the HEROES Act with Democratic leaders of the House and the Senate. In the ultimate insult, he proposes to defund Social Security and Medicare with reckless payroll tax elimination… It’s time for him to go.”

Fred Guttenberg, gun safety activist:

“Last week, our next president Joe Biden was speaking about darkness and the light, and we are going to see examples of that when the week gets underway. My children went to school on Feb. 14, 2018. I sent two children to school to learn and be safe. One of them I now visit in a cemetery. We had a president for the past few years who chose to politicize my daughter’s murder, and other victims of violence, not do something about it. In fact, when he instructed Betsy DeVos to do a school safety report, she was instructed to not include the issue of guns. Joe Biden won’t make that mistake.

“When you see them talk about what happened in Parkland this week, they’re going to talk about it being about anything but guns. Joe Biden won’t make that mistake.

[…] “The reality is in 6 minutes, 17 people died because of the gun…to those who are going to use the lie this entire week —’the second amendment is under attack; they’re coming for your second amendment; they’re going to pull it away.’ That’s a load of BS.”

Retired Brigadier General Remo Butler, former special forces commander who endorsed Donald Trump in 2016:

“First, let me say this. America deserves better. Our men and women in uniform deserve better and that’s the reason I’m supporting Joe Biden. I believe Joe Biden will lead from Day 1. I believe Joe Biden will lead from the front. I believe Joe Biden will say the buck stops here. We need to restore the dignity of the presidency, and we must bring all Americans together. We don’t need to be divisive. Joe Biden can do this… We need to reassert America’s role as a global leader, which we aren’t any more… it is in the best interest of the United States to elect Joe Biden as our commander in chief.”

Dr. Jennifer Cowart, Duval County physician who organized the letter signing campaign against the RNC convention in Jacksonville:

“I’m a doctor in Jacksonville, and I care for patients here affected by COVID-19. I was deeply concerned with the last minute decision to move the RNC convention to my city in an apparent effort to skirt regulations around masks and social distancing in North Carolina. We saw the aftermath of the Tulsa rally in terms of increased COVID-19 cases and deaths that occurred and here in Jacksonville we were already experiencing high case counts and rising case numbers.

“Any potential economic gain from the convention would have been far outweighed by the illness and deaths it would have imposed in Jacksonville. My colleagues and I organized several hundred physicians to sign a letter highlighting the safety risks of the in-person RNC convention.”

[…] “We are definitely glad that the Jacksonville part of this convention was cancelled, but the whole episode really highlights the overall chaos and disregard for public health, which has characterized the Trump presidency from the beginning and characterized the mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic since it began and came to our shores early in 2020.

“So, we need a president who is going to listen to scientists, who is not going to push for events that directly disregard and ignore their recommendations, and then say ‘it is what it is’ when confronted with the deaths of 160,000 Americans. We need a different presidency, we need that now!”

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